ABSTRACT

Collective bargaining in France can take place at three different, often interconnected levels. First, the national, or multi-industry, level brings together employer and trade union organisations that are considered to be nationally representative, to bargain on behalf of the majority of private sector industries. The results of such negotiations, dealing as they do with themes such as pensions and training, are usually extended to cover all employees apart from those in the public administrations (local and central government, hospitals), which have their own bargaining arrangements with their respective ministries. Branch-or industry-level bargaining was, for most of the postwar period, the main level at which bargaining took place in France, and set the ‘laws of the trade’ that were applicable to companies within the branch. The issues dealt with at this level usually concerned job classifications and wages, working time, training, employment issues and pensions. Companylevel bargaining was marginal in France until the 1980s, when the 1982 Auroux Laws made it obligatory over wages and hours in all companies employing more than 200 people (see below).