Where's the nearest Berlitz school?

Published on March 19 2006

Top News Article | Reuters.com
PARIS (Reuters) - The French government defended on Sunday a new job law that has provoked mass protest marches and played down a threat from unions of a possible general strike if it fails to withdraw the law by Monday night. Spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said the conservative government passed the law, which lets employers fire people under 26 for any reason during a two-year trial period, in a bid to fight youth unemployment. Opponents of the First Job Contract (CPE) law, including unions, student groups and left-wing parties, argue it is regressive and will create a generation of disposable French workers insecure about their future employment. "What is our objective? It is to mobilize against unemployment, especially among youths," Cope said on LCI television. French unemployment stands at 9.6 percent nationwide and over 20 percent for young people.
What am I missing here? The students are insecure about their future employment--WITH A 20+% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE?????? Wouldn't a "first job"--even though you know it's not a lifetime gig--be preferable to nothing at all? Wouldn't an incentive to employers to hire these young people--and we're not talking 16 year olds here, we're talking University graduates-- be something desirable? After doing a little more reading, I have suddenly become very sympathetic to the students' sad plight. Go here and you will understand why.
Moreover, French businesses are weighted down with regulations and restrictions that make its labor market one of the industrial world's most rigid. France's minimum wage is roughly double that of the United States. The workweek is limited to 35 hours. French workers are entitled to a minimum of five weeks of vacation and 36 weeks of paid family or maternity leave, with additional time off available on an unpaid basis. It is very difficult for French companies to lay off or fire employees. Dismissals are subject to stringent bureaucratic constraints. As a result, French companies are extremely reluctant to hire new workers. On average, the United States creates more new private-sector jobs in a month than France does in a year. At the same time, the generosity of French welfare offers little incentive for the unemployed to look for work. The result is a growing population of idle, disillusioned poor with little connection to society at large.
I am protected by a negotiated union contract, and I had to work 25 years to be eligible for 5 weeks of vacation per year. (My father was horrified that I got that much vacation that soon!) I had NO paid maternity leave, and was back on the job (too early physically, I might add) after about four weeks off with my kids. It's only been in the last dozen years that I could take ANY sort of maternity leave and not fear dismissal if I'm not covered by a contract. 35 hour workweeks? :-O I think I'm relatively lazy in my 40-48 hour week, in comparison with friends who are putting in 60 hour weeks. Yeah, I need to start learning to speak French. Ooh, la, la...

Written by admin

Published on #Pics and Babbling, #School

To be informed of the latest articles, subscribe:
Comment on this post