The French government has been holding an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis caused by the first employment contract. It follows the president’s call for amendments to shorten the time a new recruit could be dismissed to one year. Jacques Chirac also wants to force employers to give explanations for sacking someone. Despite the proposals to water-down the measures, the new law still faces a tough struggle, with trade unions refusing to accept the changes.
Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the left-leaning Force Ouvriers movement, says there is no point going to talks to discuss revising the legislation because his members are only interested in its suppression. However the head of the largest student has sounded a slightly more concillatory tone. Bruno Juillard says he is in favour of having discussionsbut only on two conditions: “The CPE contract must not be enacted within the next few days and secondly I only want to talk about scrapping the law, and under no circumstances do I want to talk about making any modifications,” he says. It is unlikely that the modified law can be prepared and presented to the National Assembly before next month, which gives both sides a chance to either back down or compromise. In the meantime, France is bracing itself for another national strike on Tuesday. Last week, a similar protest ended in widespread violence.