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France labor leaders demand youth jobs law repeal by April 15

[JURIST] French union leaders said Wednesday that there is only one "plausible response likely to end the conflict" over the controversial First Employment Contract (contrat premiere embauche, CPE) [text, in French] and gave French President Jacques Chirac [official profile] until April 15 to withdraw the law, which allows workers under 26 years old to be fired without cause during the first two years of employment. Labor and student leaders last Saturday rejected [JURIST report] a compromise offered by the French president on the highly controversial legislation. Labor leaders had hinted [JURIST report] on Monday that they might be willing to re-enter negotiations with the French government.

Despite widespread opposition to the CPE [official backgrounder; JURIST news archive], members of France's parliament, including Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, have continued to refuse to abandon the new law altogether, hoping instead to come to a compromise over the legislation. Labor leaders have been emboldened by ongoing protests against the law [JURIST report], and have demanded that the government drop its proposed changes to rules governing how employees are hired and fired. Reuters has more.

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