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Another black Tuesday: Anti-CPE protests hit France

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Another black Tuesday: Anti-CPE protests hit France


Unions say today’s mass strikes in France against the CPE first job contract are on the same scale as last Tuesday, and the movement is not losing momentum. With noisy demonstrations underway in major cities like Marseille and Paris, the marchers say the cracks are appearing in the French government.

However the industrial action is having a smaller impact on the transport sector than had been feared, with air traffic suffering minor delays and around a third of trains cancelled. Much of the action is on the political scene, where Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has effectively taken over negotiations from Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. President Jacques Chirac tried to take the sting out of the CPE on Friday when he announced the most controversial clauses would be changed. The main student leader has described the president’s message as contradictory, and claims it only fuelled discontent. Chirac asked that the trial period be reduced from two years to 12 months, and employers be forced to justify why they had layed off staff. Protesters argue the CPE, which aims to cut high youth unemployment, leaves them vulnerable.
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