The French are Revolting

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Interesting... I had been hearing about the riots in France (500,000 protestors, 160 arrests and 17 injuries in Paris alone) but didn't really understand the reason. Here is a short article about the riots from UPI:
French labor protests turn into riots
Damage assessment began in Paris Sunday following riots involving 500,000 protesters upset with a new French labor law that makes young workers vulnerable.

Saturday's demonstration began as a peaceful march, but by Saturday evening into Sunday morning, became violent, with cars being torched, firebombs thrown and police deploying tear gas and water cannons, the BBC reported.

More than 160 people were arrested and at least 17 demonstrators and seven police officers were injured in the clashes, the ITN network said.
It turns out that it is very simple. When you get hired in France, you are essentially hired for life with guaranteed 35 hour workweeks, month-long vacations, pensions, etc... Very cushy. The problem is that some people turn into slackers and do not carry their weight -- they cannot be fired except for gross negligence so they do the barest minimum. Other not-so-subtle issues creep up too, a companies workload fluctuates according to the demands of the marketplace. When a company is busy, if it hires new people, it cannot lay off those people when the demand decreases. This prompts the company to hold off hiring new people so current workers are overworked and the company looses its competative edge. The new law that is being protested against is this (from Reuters):
French gov't defends job law, plays down ultimatum
The French government defended on Sunday a new job law that has provoked mass protest marches and played down a union threat to call a general strike unless the law is withdrawn by Monday night.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the government would not back down over the law, an attempt to reduce youth unemployment which lets employers fire people under 26 for any reason during a two-year trial period.

Unemployment stands at 9.6 percent nationwide and over 20 percent for young people.
And:
The law is an attempt to give young people experience of work and to tackle French employers' reluctance to take on new staff because of the high financial cost and the difficulty of sacking workers.
This law sounds like a win-win situation. It removes one of the barriers to companies hiring people -- not being able to lay them off if needed. It also gives the company an oppertunity to get a good "handle" on this person's work ethic and give them a two year chance to prove themselves worthy of continued employment. The Job Market is tight due to France's work policies. Kids who are unwilling to activly improve themselves and to make themselves marketable to a potential employer will not get hired as there are hundreds of more qualified people salivating at the prospect of employment. And just who are these protestors???

1 Comment

I don't know, but it might be related to the reason you went off and started a business growing and marketing apples. Something about the soul-killing reality of capitalist wage drudgery.

Just a guess.

;^)

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 19, 2006 5:27 PM.

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