Job plan knocked

March 3, 2006

Student protests continue in France against a proposed youth employment plan that unions claim will erode employment rights for young people, writes Jane Marshall in Paris.

The contrat première embauche (CPE), proposed by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, would offer tax breaks to firms that hire people aged under 26 for a two-year trial period - during which time they could be fired without explanation.

Collectif d'Organisation de jeunes contre le CPE, which brings together student and lycee federations, trade unions and political groups, called for days of action. One, held at the end of February, coincided with a Senate review of the Equal Opportunities bill, of which the CPE is part.

UNEF, France's biggest student union, said the CPE would "widen job insecurity".

It said the provision, "contrary to labour law, constitutes unprecedented job insecurity for employees".

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