Paris — French President Emmanuel Macron’s government announced reforms to loosen labour regulations and drive down unemployment, drawing criticism from unions but limited support for the street protests that have hindered previous reform bids. After weeks of negotiations with unions over the summer, the centrist government revealed measures including a cap on payouts for dismissals adjudged unfair and greater freedom to hire and fire. The plan would also give companies more flexibility to adapt pay and working hours to market conditions. The labour code reform is the first big test of Macron’s drive to re-shape the eurozone’s second-biggest economy with its near double-digit jobless rate, double that in Britain and markedly higher than Germany. He also seeks a "grand bargain" with Germany over broader reforms of the eurozone. For decades, governments of the left and right have tried to reform France’s strict labour rules, but have always diluted them in the face of street protests....

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