France mulling law to cap private sector salaries

France, struggling with economic stagnation and spiralling unemployment, will soon have a law to cap the salaries of top earners in the private sector, the government spokeswoman said Thursday.

The pay of the heads of state-run firms was already limited last year to 450,000 euros ($581,000) annually. Spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said a law on private company salaries would be ready "before summer."

"We want greater transparency in salaries for example by putting the pay of senior management before the board of directors of big companies who will have to validate them," she told the LCI news channel.

But Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici struck a discordant note after her declaration by saying that the government would first discuss the issue with entrepreneurs and only legislate "if necessary."

The government of President Francois Hollande is divided over several key economic policies and ministers have repeatedly made contradictory statements in the past over major issues such as immigrant nationalisation.

Earlier this month Swiss voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum approving limits on high salaries at big companies and banning golden handshakes for executives leaving or taking up posts in Swiss companies.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said after the Swiss vote that France should take inspiration from its outcome.