Face-off

French social dialogue: Mission impossible?

This week, the French president convened a so-called "social conference" with trade unions and business officials, the fourth of his presidency. This forum is a symbol of Hollande's much-vaunted model of "social democracy". But this model is flailing. The images of violent clashes between workers and managers at Air France have made headlines around the world. The subsequent arrest of several Air France employees in early morning police raids prompted a key union to boycott the conference.