The French government has decided to use special powers to pass a hotly contested labor reform without vote in the lower house of parliament.

The decision to use the article 49-3 of the Constitution was made Tuesday after the government failed to find a compromise on the bill with legislators and convened a brief emergency Cabinet meeting.

The reform has divided the governing Socialist party, where a group of rebels refuses to vote for it.

The conservative opposition has warned it will file a censure motion if the government uses the article 49-3.

The reform, which would make it easier to lay off workers, weaken some union powers, and relax rules regulating the country's 35-hour workweek, has sparked violent protests across the country in recent weeks.