Paris: France will cut 13,000 state jobs each year over the next five years to offset the cost of hiring tens of thousands of teachers and police, tracking an objective of keeping public sector job levels stable, a government source said.
The positions will be axed by not replacing retiring staff, the source said.
First in line for downsizing is the Defence Ministry with 7,500 cuts scheduled in 2013, followed by the Finance Ministry with 2,500 cuts and the ecology and housing ministries, which will both lose 1,300 positions.
The government is creating 65,000 teaching positions as well as 5,000 new jobs in the police and court system, which President Francois Hollande had promised during his election campaign.
Hollande has promised to cut France’s deficit to 3 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of 2013, but faced with flat growth and high unemployment, he must walk a fiscal tightrope.
In addition to education hires, he is slated to launch a large-scale youth hiring programme later this year as well as subsidies designed to encourage companies to hire young workers while keeping older ones on.
But sacrifices will be required in other areas, notably in the military, where 55,000 jobs are to be phased out by 2017 as part of a broader downscaling.
The government should face “no difficulty” in keeping public spending growth below the rate of inflation in 2013, the source said, referring to preliminary estimates of debt servicing costs and pension payments.
This will be harder to square with Hollande’s battle against unemployment which has ridden steadily over the past year to a 13-year high.