Monday, March 20, 2006

Now we're discriminating against the young...

Why the hell would anyone ever propose a law like this. Are people under 26 less deserving of workers rights than older people? I don't get it, I just don't get it.

Withdraw French law or workers walk: union
Last Updated Sun, 19 Mar 2006 23:50:31 EST
CBC News
A French union leader is threatening to call a general strike on Monday unless the government drops a youth employment law that sparked protests across the country during the weekend.

FROM MARCH 18, 2006: Students, workers march against youth job law in France

Students and workers march and shout slogans in Lyon during weekend protests of a French youth law. (AP Photo/Patrick Gardin)
Bernard Thibault, head of the powerful CGT union, made the announcement a day after workers and students held protest marches in more than 200 cities. There were conflicting reports on the number of protesters, ranging from 500,000 to 1.5 million.

"If this momentum continues, I think we will quickly get the withdrawal" of the measure, Thibault said on France-Inter radio.

The workers are demanding that Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin abandon attempts to enact legislation, scheduled to take effect next month, that would allow employers to hire and fire young workers at will.

The law would allow employers to fire young workers without cause if they are less than 26 years old and have worked less than two years.

Students fear the law will lead to higher unemployment in a country where the young already have trouble getting jobs.

But de Villepin refused to back down over the law. He defended its use and played down a union threat to call a general strike.

About one-quarter of young people are unemployed in France. That number rises to 50 per cent among people of Arab or African origin.

More than 15 universities have already gone on strike over the proposed law, and dozens of others have been disrupted.

Saturday's protests continued across the country on Sunday, with occasional violent flare-ups.

In Paris, 52 people were injured and 167 were arrested in a massive demonstration near city hall.

"When youths take to the street, you don't know what can happen," said Julien Dray, spokesman for the opposition Socialist party. "By digging in its heels, the government is creating the conditions for troubles (that can have) dramatic consequences."

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