[JURIST] The French Constitutional Council [official website] on Thursday declared [press release] that the First Employment Contract (CPE) [text], a controversial labor law which allows employers to hire workers under 26 for a conditional two-year period at the end of which they can be dismissed without cause, is constitutional. The ruling [decision, in French; case materials, in French] allows President Jacques Chirac [BBC profile], who will address the nation on Friday to discuss his views on the CPE, to approve the law, although he could decide to revise the proposal to appease trade unions, students, and other groups vehemently opposed to the CPE [official backgrounder, in English; JURIST news archive]. In response to the Council's decision, students and trade unions announced plans for another strike next Tuesday to demonstrate against the law.
The CPE has triggered a string of protests [JURIST report] across the country primarily by students and labor unionists who fear it will increase unemployment and destroy job security among younger workers, including some demonstrations that have turned violent [JURIST report]. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [official profile] proposed the labor law to provide more job opportunities for French youth and has steadfastly supported the CPE without changes. BBC News has more. Le Monde has local coverage.