There is a new law that was implemented in France last month that is being called Florange Law. The name comes from a town in North East France which was the home of the ArcelorMittal SA steelworks() which was due to close during Francois Hollande’s presidential campaign.

It’s interesting as it seems to contradict the pledge of Hollande to be more business friendly. As an industrial policy it is bound to draw huge debate from each side of the employment fence.

Basically the law will oblige the head of any business with over 1000 employees, must spend at least 3 months looking for a buyer before they are allowed to close any plant. If they don’t do so then the penalties are steep, a fine equal to 28,000 Euros for each job lost up to a cap of 2% of annual revenue.

The steelworks in question did actually close but it became a very important factor in the election of the President who made a speech to the workers at the time. This law is the fulfillment of his promise in that speech.

Trade Unions in France have been complaining that it is not sufficient to help protect the jobs of French workers who are under threat. They want much stronger incentives for companies to protect French jobs and industries.

Businessmen suggest that it is likely to do the opposite, further making France a place that large industrialists and entrepreneurs will seek to avoid due to the huge levels of Government intervention and control. Many European countries are seeking to reduce legislation and controls in order to promote business and job creation. It would seem likely that this law will further restrict France’s attraction to European businesses and manufacturers.

You can see some of the debate that this bill has provoked on French media much of which is available online. Some of the best sites like M6 Replay will stream programmes across the internet although if you are outside the country you will need a France proxy in order to access them correctly.

The reason is that like most international media sites, online content is normally restricted to the country it is broadcast in. So hence US media sites are only accessible in the US, UK stuff in Britain and French media is only visible in France and so one. The method used is to look up your IP address when you connect and then check what location you are connecting from. The site then decides whether to allow you access or to redirect you somewhere else. Fortunately if you use an intermediary serve like a proxy or VPN you can normally bypass the restrictions and watch whatever you want, wherever you happen to be.

Some of these services now have huge global coverage, allowing you to switch to hundreds of different countries whenever you need to – this site for instance demonstrates a Japanese proxy
where the user wants to access a Tokyo website which streams radio stations from Japan.