Faced with rapidly rising unemployment, the French government has unveiled a series of jobs measures.
With the economic crisis worsening, more than two million people are out of work in France and August saw the biggest monthly increase in the jobless totals in 15 years.
President Nicholas Sarkozy said the government will increase subsidised training programmes, increase help for job seekers and make it easier for people to work on Sundays.
He explained: “France gets more tourists than any country in the world. Is it normal, when we’re the number one global tourist destination, that everything is shut on a Sunday?”
The unions are fearful that companies will take advantage of the economic crisis and they are unhappy with the President’s priorities.
Bernard Thibault, the head of one of the biggest and most left-wing unions, the CGT, said: “The first thing that the President of the Republic did was to help the banks, the second was to help companies. I note that they’re receiving a total, of 400 billion euros in loans or state guarantees. As of now, what have the workers got? Nothing, absolutely nothing.”
Sarkozy has promised to ease restrictions on the use of short-term job contracts by small and medium sized businesses. He called on unions to be more flexible over temporary work contracts.