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French Collective Bargaining Agreements - a brief overview

In addition to the relative constraints, at least from the perspective of the employer, of the Code du Travail (the French Codified collection of Employment Law provisions) there are often also additional, and perhaps equally constraining, provisions set out in Collective Bargaining Agreements, known in French as "Conventions Collectives de Travail".

Collective Bargaining Agreements may be applicable nationally, throughout the whole of French territory, or sometimes only at a very localised level, (thus constituting a potential pitfall for employers and their external advisors who may come from outside the particular area).

In general terms, Collective Bargaining Agreements relate to a particular sector of industry or commerce and tend to set out in much greater detail the scope of the relationship between employer and employee.

The terms thereof reflect the fruit of local or national negotiation between bodies representing the employers and those representative of the employees.

However, the Conventions Collectives de Travail are in many cases binding upon employers who took no part in any collective bargaining nor were members of any employers' representative grouping which was party to the negotiations.

As a very general rule in litigation before the specialised French Labour Courts, where a conflict of interpretation exists between the statutory text viz. the Code du Travail and that of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, then the provisions, which are most favourable to the employee, are likely to prevail.

The foregoing is not intended to be exhaustive and for specific information relating to French Collective Bargaining Agreements, please click here  .





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