By Nicolas Lecaussin
In France the national economy and the fate of thousands of employees are regularly linked to the grand “social conference”. Successive presidents have paid tribute to the ritual of “social dialogue”. Nicolas Sarkozy did so several times during his presidency with well-known results: the unions firmly opposed the timid attempts at reform and finally called for a vote for the socialist candidate in May 2012. François Hollande enthusiastically followed suit by imposing a two-day “grand social conference” in July 2012.