The French president will sign a contentious youth employment law despite weeks of protests by millions of people across the country. But, in attempt to mollify demonstrators, Jacques Chirac has promised to modify two of its most disputed clauses. Student and trade union leaders were unimpressed and have vowed to press ahead with another strike next week.
Chirac said the two year trial period would be reduced to one year and he added that young employees would have the right know why their contracts had been terminated if they were fired. But his compromise only seemed to further infuriate the law’s opponents. In Paris, crowds of several hundred people booed and jeered at his televised address. Outside the Sorbonne, students tried to force the barricades put up around the university. In cities including Strasbourg, Nancy, Lyon, Lille and Rennes, hundreds more voiced their opposition to the legislation, with some of the protests turning violent at times. The law was designed to cut the number of young people out of work by making it easier to hire and fire them but critics say it will lead to what they describe as a generation of “throwaway workers.”