There is some talking, but not everyone has come to the table. The French Prime Minister is meeting some student leaders amid anger over his controversial new youth employment law. However, the leaders of the main student organisations have stayed away from talks with Dominique de Villepin. Yesterday the Prime Minister and trade union leaders failed to break a deadlock over the new law.
The reform makes it easier for bosses to hire young people, but they can also be fired without reason in the first two years. Villepin repeated proposals to review the law in six months’ time and introduce a three month training programme for those whose contracts are terminated. Students from groups that boycotted Saturday’s meeting gathered outside, demanding again that talks should only take place once the law is withdrawn.
“The Prime Minister’s stubbornness is a provocation,” said one student leader. “Every day that passes it provokes more hatred and violence. The government is responsible for the clashes that can happen during the protests.” Observers say those clashes represent one of the biggest crises in Villepin’s 10-month administration. Unions are planning a nationwide strike on Tuesday.