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Students and unions reject Chirac's compromise offer

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Students and unions reject Chirac's compromise offer


It was in a national TV address on Friday night that French President Jacques Chirac announced a watering-down of the controversial youth jobs law. He said he would sign it but there would be amendments to the so-called First Employment Contract, or CPE. Chirac said the two-year trial period would be reduced to one year and young employees would have the right to know why their contracts had been terminated if they were fired.

The compromise offer came after weeks of demonstrations, which at times have resulted in violence. The law is aimed at cutting the number of young people out of work by making it easier to hire and fire them. Critics, however, say it is not a long-term solution. France has one of Western Europe’s highest rates of unemployment among the under 26s, with nearly one in four out of work.
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