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Alcatel plan won't be accepted if no union deal: French PM

Employees of Alcatel-Lucent walk past an entrance at the company site in Orvault near Nantes, western France, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Steph
Employees of Alcatel-Lucent walk past an entrance at the company site in Orvault near Nantes, western France, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Steph

PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent must negotiate a good deal with unions that saves as many jobs as possible or face the risk that its restructuring will not be rubber-stamped, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday.

Alcatel-Lucent unveiled plans on Tuesday to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, including 900 in France.

"We want a negotiation that saves as many jobs as possible, as many sites as possible," Ayrault told Europe 1 radio, adding a labor law voted earlier this year gave workers more negotiating rights.

"If there is no majority agreement (with unions) the social plan won't be accepted, because the law now gives the state the responsibility so to act," Ayrault said, without specifying what the consequences would be.

President Francois Hollande had called on Alcatel-Lucent on Tuesday to save as many jobs as possible.

The French parliament passed in May a landmark reform of the country's labor code, which makes it easier for firms to carry out layoffs but also introduces new rules for negotiation with staff.

Any agreement with unions on job-cut plans must now be approved by the authorities within two weeks under the new law.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Ingrid Melander; editing by James Jukwey)

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