French workers face ban on wine at work

French workers can for the first time be forbidden from drinking wine in the workplace by their employers after an historic labour ministry ruling.

emptywineThis age-old custom in French working life has until now been mandated by law, with the now-defunct ‘Work Code’ stipulating that employers could not ban beer, cider and wine from workplace canteens and social drinks in offices.

Other beverages – such as spirits – were able to be forbidden under the code, while drivers, medical staff and machine operators (among others) have always been banned from drinking at all if they are on duty.

But the French labour ministry ruling now threatens to cut all French employees from this long-held tradition, leaving it to employers to judge wether or not they want wine and other beverages consumed in the workplace.

The ministry argue that alcohol can “threaten the security and the physical and mental wellbeing of workers,” reports France 24. 

Alcohol abuse causes around 49,000 deaths in France annually, according to a study by the Institut Gustave-Roussy, one of the world’s leading cancer research institutes.

Drinking wine has long been a mainstay of French gastronomic culture, but consumption has declined in recent years as drinkers turn increasingly to beer.

In 2013 the United States outstripped France as the top global consumer of wine, with 29 million hectolitres being drunk — one million more than in France.

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