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French bosses' union's 'One million jobs' badge made abroad

The Medef's  "One million jobs" badge
The Medef's "One million jobs" badge Reuters/Benoit Tessier

The French bosses' union has launched a campaign claiming that changes to working practices will create one million jobs in France. But parts of their "One million jobs" badge were made in ... the Czech Republic.

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While the Medef bosses' union launched a plan it claimed would create a million jobs in five years on Wednesday, it emerged that the badges gracing their lapels had indeed created jobs ... but not all of them in France.

"We had to partly relocate to Czech Republic to lower costs," said Richard Avron, head of AD Distribution, the companuy that produces the yellow badge.

Between 20,000 and 25,000 badges have been produced but the metal part - 35 per cent of the cost of production - was made by a Czech company.

"For large production runs, we have to turn to a Czech factory," said Avron, who employs seven people in France. "It's a trade negociation between supplier and customer in a global economy."

Businesses outsourcing jobs to countries with lower wages is a major concern for French trade unions and was the reason for this month's Air France pilots' strike.

"We saved France's honour!" said Medef leader Pierre Gattaz, claiming that most of the badge is made in France.

The Medef has taken some time to present the final version of its proposals, Le Monde newspaper pointed out on Wednesday.

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The daily wrote that "after much hesitation and several postponments, the Medef unveiled its plans (...) but, despite PR efforts, the plans remain mostly unchanged".

In its original plan, the Medef suggested cutting two of France's 11 public holidays and allowing exceptions to the minimum wage and other aspects of labour law.

On Wednesday it declared that it was not proposing changes to the minimum wage or the 35-hour work week but on the same day Gattaz told to Le Monde that the French "should work longer". 

The Medef plan has been rejected by the government, while some economists argue that it doesn't reflect the economic realities, such as companies increasing production before and after public holidays or jobs created in some sectors by workers in other sectors having leisure time.

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