French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference during an European Council in Brussels, June 22, 2017. Macron is launching step two of his campaign to rethink French labor law, focusing on unemployment and job training. (EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)
PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron is launching step two of his campaign to rethink French labor law, focusing on unemployment benefits and job training.
Macron meets Thursday with France's main workers and employers unions to start negotiations that will last for months. The discussions come as workers are still protesting a first set of labor measures Macron signed last month, aimed at making it easier for firms to hire and fire.
The government now wants to extend unemployment benefits to independent entrepreneurs, farmers and merchants who go bankrupt.
Employees who voluntarily quit would also be entitled to unemployment benefits under strict conditions, to encourage workers to change jobs more easily.
The government also wants to reform the way the benefits are financed and help unemployed people acquire new skills needed in a rapidly changing global economy.