March 19, 2006
So a million idiots go on a march in Paris and across France.
Those aged under 26 can be fired without a reason given during the first two years in a job. Protesters argue that the plan - a personal initiative of the prime minister - increases job insecurity and undermines France's highly protective code de travail (work code).
"We are not disposable, we deserve better," said Aurélie Silan, 20, a student. "Aren't we the future of France?" Arms raised at the front of the Paris protest, Cécile, 21, a Sorbonne student, chanted "Resistance: the fight goes on, for youth, for wages, for employees. The government is at fault. We will stand firm."
A government spokesman said that "[our] hand is outstretched, the door is open" to discuss ways of "improving" the scheme, but that it would not be scrapped.
At about 23 per cent, youth unemployment in France is twice the national average, and one of the highest in Europe. Young people take eight to 11 years to secure their first full-time staff contract.
Isn’t idiots too strong a word? No. It’s so damn hard to fire someone in France that firms desperately try not to hire them in the first place. Look at that 8-11 years number!
By making it easier to fire then there’ll be more jobs offered. Quite simply, too much job security means too few jobs on offer. Of the various forms of welfare state (roughly, Scandanavian, Mediterranean, Anglo Saxon), France has chosen the worst one.
I know that little piece of economic wisdom has been well chewed over elsewhere. The only thing that surprises me is that there are a million idiots in France who don’t get it.
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» Tens of Thousands Part 2 from L'Ombre de l'Olivier
Unlike the fiizzle of the anti-war protests, the anti-jobs protests in France really did get "tens of thousands" of participants. In my earlier posts on the subject I put the cause down to selfishness, but I'm beginning to think that I may have been ... [Read More]
Tracked on Mar 19, 2006 12:31:06 PM
I haven't following this story really, so am presumably missing something crucial, but why does the need to give a 'reason' preclude a company from firing someone whenever they want.
All they say is - we want to fire you because we can't afford you / because you're doing a lousy job / etc.
Or does the reason currently have to be a good one?
Tim adds: The latter.
Posted by: Andy | Mar 19, 2006 11:04:18 AM
It is certainly true that the single greatest obstacle to job creation in France is a lack of job mobility, and this sclerosis is driven by the fear of being unable to climb back on the horse if you fall off, which is currently justified, but also a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, the plight of most young people in France is a bit of a nightmare, and whereas the CPE may well help initial employment, the accompanying lack of job security and therefore financial stability does nothing to improve this. Essentially, if you don't have a permanent job contract, you can't obtain credit because banks won't gamble on your future earnings. You can't rent a flat because the landlord won't gamble on your ability to pay the rent (unless your parents serve as guarantors, which is pretty much standard for those whose parents can or will do so). So you can't afford to buy suits for interviews or live where you're looking for a job. It reminds of "Lost in America" by Alice Cooper:
"I ain't got a car 'cause I ain't got a job,
I ain't got a job 'cause I can't go to school
I can't go to school 'cause I ain't got a car
So I'm looking for a girl with a job and a car.
And a house. With cable."
Posted by: The Militant Pine Marten | Mar 19, 2006 1:27:53 PM
Well, part of the story is indeed economic illiteracy (a real problem, here in France) but another part is that the reforms are percieved as too weak to successfully address the issue of unemployment...
Idiot? maybe not, or not only...
Posted by: Jean | Mar 19, 2006 1:48:30 PM
Idiots? don't forget how much fun it is to go on a demo and burn or throw stuff - maggie maggie maggie out out out!
Posted by: Judge | Mar 19, 2006 3:36:48 PM
Q. Aren't we the future of France?
A. If it listens to you, it doesn't have one.
Posted by: Andrew Zalotocky | Mar 19, 2006 10:32:18 PM
Well us Anglo-Saxons manage alright without such safeguards - in fact the French are complaining about us buying up large tracts of France so while the legislation change is not perfect its still good enough to take the plunge. The French are just scared of the water.
Posted by: Wolfie | Mar 20, 2006 10:12:28 AM
I so completely agree with you. I think it is time they *&#^$& grow up! But I do have an idea on what to do with these *idiots*. Check out my post today. :O)
Posted by: sara | Mar 24, 2006 2:36:17 PM