PARIS (Reuters) - Lawmakers from both houses of France's parliament on Monday opened the way for the government to press ahead with its first major reform, an overhaul of labor rules.


The reform will allow labor conditions to be set in individual workplaces rather across industries and provide for fixed limits on settlements employers have to pay in dismissal cases, making firing and hiring easier.


An agreement at the committee level on Monday is set to be approved later this week by parliament as a whole, which will allow the government to carry out the reforms by decree. It is expected to do so in September.


Past labor reforms have languished for months in parliament before being watered down. The committee agreement to proceed by decree, while controversial in France, is set to speed up the process and give the government more room for maneuver.


However, France's second-biggest union, the CGT, is staunchly opposed to the reform and has called for nation-wide protests on Sept 12, which the far-left France Unbowed party will take part in.


The country's main union, CFDT, and third-biggest, FO, are reserving judgment until they see the details of the reform.

The protests will be a key test for President Emmanuel Macron's reform mettle. While he has a solid majority in the lower house of parliament, conservative and center-right parties have the majority in the senate.

(Reporting by Emile Picy; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Larry King)