Yet another article that does not address the real problems of socialism in France. The unemployment rate of the youth in France is nearing 25 percent yet the international media doesn’t want to see the trees through the forest! The reason that unemployment is so high is because the labor unions! Unemployment is at 10 percent in France Because you don’t have to work to survive. You can exist on the welfare system just fine.
The same holds true for the young college students in France. They get out of school and there is no incentive to work. They can just get on the dole and kick back waiting for the optimal job that they don’t have to work hard to keep because of the labor unions. Now this is a simplistic way of looking at a complex issue, but President Chrac needs to implement reform because France is collapsing under it’s own socialist weight.
I hope this all plays out to the end because it will show some of you indoctrinated union nazi’s here in America how inherently wrong the union philosophy really is. JD
Unemployment stymies France’s attempt at reform
General strike threatened over First Job law
Fears grow over barrier dividing society
Mar. 20, 2006. 01:00 AM
REUTERS NEWS AGENCY
PARIS—From the burning suburbs of last autumn to this weekend’s huge marches of students and workers, the spectre of unemployment haunts French politics and stymies the government’s attempts at reform.
The national unemployment rate is 9.6 per cent and tops 20 per cent for youths, but several French factors — such as strict labour laws, job discrimination and fear of globalization — spread the angst even wider.
Rage, in part at being shut out of the job market, fuelled riots by suburban youths of Arab and African origin last autumn.
Middle-class students who feel sidelined and exploited in the struggle for work are marching now.
Trade unions have joined in, fearing their working members could one day see labour laws that protect them melt before their eyes if Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin does not withdraw his new Contrat première embauche (First Job Contract), or CPE.
“Little by little, the feeling has spread that there is an internal barrier separating those who are in the system — well paid or not, they can plan their lives, rent a flat, get a loan — and those outside it,” said sociologist François Dubet.
“The world of the suburbs and the world of middle-class students live in growing insecurity,” he told the daily Le Monde.
“When unemployment hits 25 per cent of an age group, one soon feels one could fall on the wrong side of the barrier.”
The French call the wrong side “précarité” (precariousness), a term that covers outright unemployment, casual work and jobs someday likely to be downsized or outsourced by the global trends undermining the vaunted French social model.
More than 20 per cent of youths nationally and up to 40 per cent to 50 per cent in the suburbs have neither a job nor much hope of one.
For de Villepin, whose hopes to become president next year depend on his strategy for cutting unemployment, CPE is a step forward he says could spur bosses to hire new staff.
It allows employers, who say that labour laws coddle the workers and discourage them from hiring, to fire workers under 26 without reason in their first two years on the job.
Seen through the spectacles of “précarité,” de Villepin’s CPE institutionalizes the shaky situation in which the young French find themselves.
“The CPE is not better than nothing. It’s worse than everything,” read some protestors’ posters yesterday.
Official statistics show young French work an average of nine years in précarité — unpaid internships, three-month contracts and occasional stints collecting unemployment benefits — before landing the coveted long-term contract that puts them on the protected side of the barrier.
These long-term contracts require employers to justify convincingly any firing, offer workers options to appeal through labour courts and set generous indemnities if someone is laid off.
Trade unions, which usually only defend their members on the right side of this divide, see CPE as de Villepin’s wedge to undermine their members’ long-term contracts, and today’s student unions, once hotbeds of revolution and utopia, are lined up with trade unions to fight the law.
“Youths are in a kind of permanent conservative revolt because they feel that any political decision will deregulate the system and make their generation more precarious,” sociologist Erwan Lecoeur told the daily Le Figaro.
With mass protests on this scale and the threat of a general strike, this is the point when a French president, ensconced in his Élysée Palace, might direct his prime minister to scrap the reform.
De Villepin seems determined to tough it out but risk-averse President Jacques Chirac could call him back at any time.
“Reform in France has two enemies, the Élysée and the street, and the first is afraid of the second,” wrote Claude Imbert in the weekly Le Point.
“I exclude any withdrawal of the CPE, which must be given a chance to work,” de Villepin said in an interview published yesterday by monthly magazine Citato, adding he regretted misunderstandings over the law.
Separately, government spokesman Jean-François Cope said the government was open to dialogue to improve aspects of the bill but gave no hint it could be withdrawn or suspended.
The comments were likely to harden the position of student and union leaders who organized protests yesterday, which they said brought 1.5 million people onto the streets in 160 towns. Police reported 500,000 protestors.
Unions and left-wing parties favour a general strike March 23, said Olivier Besancenot, a young Trotskyite leader.
Police said 167 protestors were arrested in Paris after rioting hurt 17 protestors and seven security officials.
About 1,000 students in Paris did rally to demand the right to study, witnesses said. Students opposing CPE have blocked many universities only weeks before exams begin.
Some 60 per cent of voters want CPE withdrawn, according to a BVA poll for the daily Depeche du Midi, while 69 per cent said marchers were justified. Left-wing parties and unions were to meet today to consider future action.