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Controversial labour law is now official in France

A controversial law on jobs for young people in France that has spawned a series of strikes and sometimes violent protests was published today in the official journal.

A controversial law on jobs for young people in France that has spawned a series of strikes and sometimes violent protests was published today in the official journal.

The official legitimisation of the youth jobs law, called the First Employment Contract (CPE), came after unions and students rejected a compromise offered by President Jacques Chirac to defuse the crisis.

Chirac’s proposal on Friday—to ratify the measure, but suspend its application and bring in two major amendments—was flatly dismissed by unions, student groups and the Left-wing Opposition, and derided by much of the French press.

More determined than ever to fight the law, its opponents have called for a major day of strikes and demonstrations on Tuesday, the latest in two months of protests that have drawn millions onto the streets, with hundreds of people arrested in violence on the fringes of the marches.

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France’s main trade union, the CGT, warned following Chirac’s televised address on Friday that it planned to step up its protests to force the government to repeal the law, which opinion polls have said is rejected by a large majority of French people.

France has been plunged into a row over the youth employment contract, with many universities closed for a nearly month, and tensions are mounting between pro- and anti-strike students.

Opponents of the contract, which allows employers to fire under 26-year-olds during a two-year trial period without explanation, say it will erode hard-won labour rights and make it more difficult for youths to find long-term jobs.

First published on: 03-04-2006 at 12:33:25 am
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