European trade unions jump into CPE dispute

4th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 4, 2006 (AFP) - European trade unions are united in opposing France's contested youth employment law, the head of the main pan-European labour federation, John Monks, said on Tuesday.

PARIS, April 4, 2006 (AFP) - European trade unions are united in opposing France's contested youth employment law, the head of the main pan-European labour federation, John Monks, said on Tuesday.

"It is the whole of Europe that is against this project," said the secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), who was in Paris to take part in a day of mass protests against the measure.

"I came with unionists from Italy and Belgium and there are demonstrators outside the French embassies in many European cities," he told a joint news conference organised by student groups and unions.

"There is a similar system in Greece and we know that Germany and the Netherlands are interested in (Prime Minister Dominique de) Villepin's plan," said the head of ETUC, which groups 79 trade unions from 35 countries, representing some 60 million workers.

Conceived by Villepin as a tool against youth unemployment — which runs at 22 percent in France — the First Employment Contract (CPE) is a contract for under 26-year-olds that can be terminated by the employer without explanation during a two-year trial period.

It has provoked a massive popular backlash, with opponents accusing Villepin of trampling on hard-won labour rights and railroading the measure through parliament without due consultation with unions and employers.

The measure was signed into law over the weekend but immediately suspended by President Jacques Chirac while a new version is drafted in an attempt to end the crisis.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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