View Full Version : Tens of thousands of French student protest against new liberal labour law

16-03-06, 20:32
BBC News : Thousands march in French law row (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4812132.stm)

Tens of thousands of French students have taken to the streets across France to protest against a controversial new labour law.

Protesters object to new two-year job contracts for under-26s which employers can break off without explanation.
Between 7,000 and 15,000 students marched in the southern city of Marseilles, according to police and protest organisers respectively. Similar figures are reported from south-western Bordeaux.

Large demonstrations have also taken place in Grenoble, Limoges and Le Havre, with thousands more protesters marching in a dozen other towns.
Students fear the First Employment Contract (CPE), passed into law last week, will erode job stability in a country where more than 20% of 18- to 25-year-olds are unemployed - more than twice the national average.
The government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin proposed the law to help youths in the French suburbs who took to the streets last year, many unhappy with the lack of employment opportunities.

In short, Dominique de Villepin's new law will permit companies to dismiss any new recruit under 26 years old in the first two years of their contract. The aim is to encourage companies to recruit more young people. Currently, French laws about staff dismissal are so strict that many companies hesitate to recruit fresh graduates, preferring people with several years of proven experience. The new law would remedy to that, but young people vehemently oppose the move, which they consider as a loss of social rights. The young are afraid to be fired too often, putting them in more insecure and precarious situations.

My opinion is that the law is a good move, as it will give more flexibility to the market and create jobs. I believe that temporary or precarious jobs are still better than no job at all.

18-03-06, 01:24
This new labour law in my opinion would favour the young or inexperienced people as well as immigrants’ youth looking for jobs.

One of the reasons that they don’t get jobs in the old system is because of the strict social and labour laws that it was so difficult to hire young people without being able to fire them. If a French company employing more than 600 people wants to fire somebody, it must abide administrative process that continue to live on an average of 106 days. So French companies prefer to hire people with experience/s. This aches young, inexperienced workers incommensurately. Once unemployed, 40 percent of French workers can expect to continue so for further than a year.

This new labour law will also improve economic growth, as it enables more jobs to be created. The old model misses the locomotive that can supply jobs (a vivacious secluded sector).

But some argue this is the opposite of helping young, or inexperienced people looking for jobs.

In the previous system, although jobs are difficult to find for young inexperienced people, unemployment is cushioned by benevolent welfare. Unemployment benefits range from 57 to 75 percent of the worker's last salary and can endure up to three years (with a cap of 5,126 Euros per month).

But this underscores the dangers of economic stagnation and people need self esteem much more than solace.

18-03-06, 02:26
I'm planning to quit this weird country anyway and we're more and more formed to think so...
I think this law is a wrong step since Young graduates won't have a job security feeling...

19-03-06, 13:37
I think this law is a wrong step since Young graduates won't have a job security feeling...

Currently, 25% have no jobs at all. I suppose that those who are protesting are those who already have jobs. The others have nothing to lose. A solution would be not to make the law retroactive, so that those already in employment do not fear to lose their job before their turn 26.

It's already fairly common in Japan to require new recruits to have many years of experience (effectively blocking fresh graduates), but it is much worse in France, Germany or Italy, where the unemployment is about twice higher. Currently, many young people are forced to get experience by doing underqualified jobs, then after 5 years or so finally managed to be engaged for the job the first hoped for. I don't think it's fair to be forced to work 5 years distributing folders in the street, classifying documents for the rest of the staff, or bringing the coffee to your superior, when you have graduated in management, marketing, finance or IT, but won't get a job in those fields without "corporate experience".

Company fear to recruit young people who have never worked before, because if they do and the new recruit cannot get up the morning to come to work, or cannot work with other people, or obey their superiors, they will be in trouble as the social laws in France make it virtually impossible to fire someone once recruited. So employers just ask for experience as a security for the "aptitude to work in a (big) company", not for the knowledge itself, which is already proven with the university diploma.

I want to say that people who didn't go further than highschool are hardly concerned by the new law, as in France, you can't get a good job without university diploma, and hopefully a Masters or Doctorate, (except for the self-employed or "manual" of course). That's why it's mostly university students and graduates that are demonstrating, not hairdressers, carpenters or musicians under 26 already working - these hardly risk to lose their jobs, as they rarely work for big companies where performance and team work matters most.

20-03-06, 10:44
According to the latest news, 1.5 million protesters would have taken the streets, but Villepin won't back down for he believes in the virtues of his brainchild.

=> BBC News : French PM stands firm on job law (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4822986.stm)

01-04-06, 00:10
Here is the chronology of the CPE crisis (http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=25&story_id=28560)

Over 2 weeks that protests rage in the streets of France. From 1 to 3 million demonstrators accusing the government. Yet, an easy and satisfying solution would be to allow companies to use CPE-type contracts if they want to, or normal contracts otherwise. People under 26 objecting to the CPE could thus refuse a job with a CPE contract and look for another one, or negotiate another type of contract with the employer.

Chirac has decided to sustain the law, but adding two major modifications : "the trial period will be reduced from two years to one and employers will need to provide justification for any dismissals during this time.".