L’Europe travaille plus longtemps !

La décision de la France de revenir sur la semaine de 35 heures en autorisant les employeurs à augmenter la durée de travail - et les salaires - constitue le renversement d’une tendance vieille de plusieurs décennies. Dans les années 1980 et 1990, la plupart des pays européens ont diminué la durée du travail. L’Allemagne est passée de 40 à 38 heures par semaine, l’Angleterre de 40 à 37 heures, le Danemark de 39 à 37 heures et la France de 40 à 35 heures. Mais aujourd'hui, les Européens sont confrontés au chômage et à un niveau de vie qui stagne, ce qui pourrait les amener à travailler davantage pour faire face à la mondialisation.

Le revirement français intervient après la signature récente en Allemagne d’accords salariaux prévoyant une augmentation de la durée du travail. Mais il y a une différence entre les deux pays : en Allemagne, l’augmentation de la durée du travail se fait sans hausse des salaires.

Siemens a été aux avant-postes, passant de 35 à 40 heures par semaine. Le gouvernement de Bavière a augmenté la durée du travail hebdomadaire de 38,5 à 40 heures pour les salariés les plus anciens et à 42 heures pour les autres. Quand Daimler-Chrysler a fait passer la durée du travail de 35 à 40 heures dans son centre de recherche et développement, le barrage a cédé, ouvrant la voie à d’autres accords de ce type.

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