What all the fuss is about: what's in the CPE

17th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 17, 2006 (AFP) - Nationwide protests by French students, due to be joined on Saturday by trade unionists, arise from anger over the government's decision to allow firms to fire young people at will during the first two years of employment.

PARIS, March 17, 2006 (AFP) - Nationwide protests by French students, due to be joined on Saturday by trade unionists, arise from anger over the government's decision to allow firms to fire young people at will during the first two years of employment.

The measure, known as the First Employment Contract (Contrat première embauche or CPE), is the centrepiece of a law that was rammed through the conservative-dominated parliament in February by the government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

To adopt the law, which is due to come into force in the coming weeks, the government used an article in the constitution which allows it to curtail parliamentary debate, a move which further angered opponents of the measure.

Under the CPE, companies with more than 20 employees will be allowed to fire employees aged under 26 at any point during the first two years of their contracts.

Last year, smaller companies were granted the right to give similar contracts to employees of all ages.

No justification need be given to those laid off from such contracts, and the financial compensation will be less than that currently provided to people on existing short-term contracts.

Despite the word "first" in its name, the CPE does not only have to apply to a young person's initial job contract. Employers are allowed to give several such contracts to the same person.

Defenders of the system claim it will encourage employers to take on more young people; youth unemployment in France is around 23 percent nationwide, and much higher in some poor neighbourhoods.

Critics point out that the measure will further increase precarity for young people, who already face enormous obstacles in getting onto a stable career ladder.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article