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巴黎需放宽周日交易禁令 [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-11-24 19:31:04 |Display all floors

Belleville, on Sundays, is a study in contrast. The Paris neighborhood is populated mostly by Chinese immigrants from Wenzhou, a coastal city known for its entrepreneurial spirit.

Most Paris neighborhoods on Sundays are quiet. But Belleville's "rues" and boulevards are bustling. Shops, bars and restaurants are packed. And finding a parking space can be an exercise in managing frustration.

Chinese immigrants seem just too busy to care about another debate in the French media over the 35-hour workweek and the Sunday trading ban.

Why bother? Working on Sundays does not seem to be a problem for Chinese immigrants who are more than happy to make extra money whenever there is an opportunity.

They have seen their businesses flourish by navigating France's rigid and complex labor laws, which exempt some businesses from the Sunday trading ban.

Although the French authorities seem to have given Chinese business owners in Belleville a tacit "oui", most French retailers and stores except those in tourist areas are still strictly forbidden from opening on Sundays and after 9 pm on weekdays.

But now some French stores are starting to rebel against the century-old law portrayed by proponents as a cherished French tradition of equality and a symbol of the country's quality of life despite the fact that they may face a fine of 60,000 euros ($82,500).

Two French home-improvement chain stores, Castorama and Leroy Merlin, have just won the right to remain open on Sundays. Many consider it a landmark ruling, which could set a precedent.

Public opinion is also turning toward the idea of working on Sunday as 63 percent of French citizens said they are willing to work on Sundays, while 80 percent of respondents think that the government should let businesses open on Sundays as long as it is on a voluntary basis, according to a survey by French newspaper Le Figaro.

At a time of prolonged economic stagnation and high unemployment, the argument for maintaining the French quality of life is becoming increasingly untenable. Unemployment in France hit a record high in September with 3.29 million registered jobseekers.

Forcing businesses to close on Sundays would only make matters worse as it would mean that owners might be forced to lay off employees. It is obvious that the Sunday trading ban results in slashed profits for business owners, workers facing the risk of losing jobs, and inconveniences for consumers.

The retail sector currently employs roughly 1.7 million people and it is one of the few sectors doing relatively well.

I have seen many Chinese tourists disappointed to find their favorite Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores are closed on Sunday.

Perhaps the challenge of overturning a long-standing trading rule lies in altering a deep-rooted French social model where Sundays are reserved for leisure. And it is just not something that the Socialist Party would do.

But the harder truth is that the enviable French lifestyle is perhaps coming to an end, and people have to accept the reality of working longer hours and a lower quality of life.

Francois Hollande, the French president and socialist leader, has said that all options are on the table to tackle unemployment and that concerted efforts will be made before the end of the year.

But time is running out. Why not start with relaxing the Sunday trading ban by giving businesses owners more flexibility and workers more freedom to work longer hours?

Lifestyle is more than taking time off. It can also mean working longer and getting paid more.


周日的巴黎“美丽城”独具一格。这处巴黎街区大部分的居民是来自以创业精神闻名的中国沿海城市--温州的中国移民。

周末,巴黎的街道都很安静。但是美丽城的大街小巷可是熙熙攘攘。商店、酒吧和餐厅都挤满了人。要找到一个停车位可谓是饱受挫折。

中国移民看起来太忙了,顾不上关心法国媒体又一场关于35小时工作周和周日交易禁令的辩论。

为什么要烦心?对于中国移民来说,周日工作不成问题。只要有机会,他们更乐意多挣些钱。

法国法律严格而复杂,但是在周日交易禁令中豁免了部分企业。中国移民通过钻这个法律空子,使自己的企业蒸蒸日上。

尽管法国当局看似给美丽城的中国企业家暗中开了“绿灯”,但是,除了在旅游区,大多数法国零售商和商店仍然被严令禁止在周日和工作日晚上9点以后营业。

但是,现在一些法国商店开始抗议这个支持者口中代表了法国宝贵的平等传统并象征了法国生活质量的百年老法,尽管他们抗议的代价是6万欧元的罚金。

卡斯托拉玛(Castorama)和乐华梅兰(Leroy Merlin)两家家装连锁店刚被允许在周日开业。许多人认为这是一个具有里程碑意义的裁决,开创了法国法律历史上的先例。

公众舆论也正在向周日工作的想法靠拢。据法国《费加罗报》的调查显示,63%的法国居民表示他们愿意在周日工作,80%的被调查人认为政府应该允许企业在自愿的基础上在周日营业。

在长时间的经济萧条和高失业率的当下,保持法国人的生活质量显然更不可能了。9月,法国失业率又创新高,注册求职者达到329万。

强制周日休业只会使事态更加糟糕,这意味着老板被逼着要辞退员工。很明显,周日交易禁令导致了企业主利润的减少,工人们面临着失业的风险,这也会给消费者带来种种不便。

零售业目前大约有170万员工,是为数不多的运转相对较好的行业之一。

我已经看到很多中国旅客失望地看到他们最爱的老佛爷百货公司(Galeries Lafayette)和巴黎春天百货公司(Printemps department stores)在周日休业。

要推翻存在已久的交易规则的一大挑战,大概就是要改变根深蒂固的“周日就是休闲日”的法国社会模式。而且法国社会党是不会去完成这一挑战的。

而更严酷的事实是,令人羡慕的法国生活方式或许即将走到尽头。人们不得不接受要工作更长时间、生活水平更低的事实。

法国总统及社会党领袖弗朗索瓦·奥朗德说,我们已经准备好了解决失业问题的所有办法,今年年底之前我们将齐心协力解决问题。

但是时间正在慢慢流逝。为什么政府不以放宽周日交易禁令为开端,给企业家们更多的伸展空间,给工人更多加班的自由呢?

生活方式不只休息一种。工作时间更长、赚钱更多,这也是一种生活方式。


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