In an attempt to keep French people in employment and squeeze out foreign workers, the Paris region has passed a new rule obliging labourers on public building sites to use French. The region is not the first to take similar measures to protect French people with an influx of cheap foreign labor threatening indigenous jobs. Vice president of the region Jerome Chartier said:
‘This clause is necessary and targets foreign companies who come with their teams, without any of them speaking French. ‘These companies need to improve.’
The French government has long criticised EU rules that allow companies to bring in much cheaper foreign workers temporarily, often from eastern Europe, who undercut locals. Opponents of the law say that it will disadvantage newly arrived foreigners living in France who are able to integrate via the workplace and learn French.
It also risks being difficult to monitor and enforce. In a bid to enforce the law, the Ile de France are considering employing inspectors to listen in at building sites to check what language they are speaking.