Informations and abstract
According to the Author, recent developments in working time regulation give rise to a new balance between the sources of law, both at national (French) and at European level. The Author stresses three different examples: the derogation to legislative provisions (national law "vis à vis" EC directives; collective agreements "vis à vis" statutory provisions); the delegation of powers from the "legislature" to the social partners; the "co-negotiation", between the State and the social partners in order to implement occupational policies. As far as collective bargaining is concerned, the author points out that while the negotiation of working time becomes more decentralised, the traditional role of trade unions becomes more important. At the same time, collective agreements traditionally stipulated by trade unions are progressively substituted by individual agreements or by agreements stipulated by shop stewards in small enterprise (where workers are not unionized or the law does not provide for the workers' council). The paper spreads out some remarks on the new balance between different forms and levels of negotiation. According to the Author, such a balance, as well as the new balance between the sources of the law (statutory and conventional law), depends on the new purpose assigned to the regulation of working time, in order to cope with unemployment. Nevertheless, this purpose shall not call in question the primary and basic purpose of the State: the protection of workers' health and safety.