-  Tuesday 29 September 2020

    France: Protests continue despite government retreat on “First Job Contract”

    Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2006
    Thousands of high school and university students across France demonstrated against the Gaullist government Tuesday despite its retreat on the “First Job Contract” (CPE) legislation. The ongoing protests reflect the depth of opposition to the government and the scepticism with which many young people have received news of the government’s deal with the trade unions on the replacement of the CPE.

    An estimated 41,000 students marched in Paris and other French cities. The turnout was far below previous demonstrations, which had drawn hundreds of thousands of young people onto the streets. While many high school and university students are now on their Easter holidays, the primary reason for the smaller scale of yesterday’s mobilisation was the agreement reached between the unions, with the support of the Socialist and Communist parties, and the government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and President Jacques Chirac.

    On Monday, Chirac and Villepin announced that the CPE, which allowed employers to fire young workers without cause, would be replaced. The proposed new measures include subsidies to companies that hire inexperienced workers and an increase in youth training placements in various industries. The new legislation is of a token character. Just 160,000 people are believed to be eligible for the programs, which will cost $150 million euros ($182 million) in 2006.


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