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French CPE labor law goes on the books despite controversy

[JURIST] A controversial French labor law that has prompted strikes and mass demonstrations by students and workers across France was officially published Sunday in France's Journal officiel [official website] gazette after being signed by President Jacques Chirac [official profile]. The statute establishing the so-called First Employment Contract (CPE) [text, JURIST news archive] allows employers to fire workers under the age of 26 without cause in the first two years of employment. In a televised address to the nation [recorded video], Chirac said Friday evening he would urge the government of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [official profile] to immediately amend the law to reduce the time period to one year and require employers to give a reason for dismissal. On Saturday opponents of the law rejected Chirac's compromise [JURIST report] and promised another major strike on Tuesday in hopes of getting the law entirely repealed. AFP has more.

Meanwhile, de Villepin told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview [subscription only] published Sunday that "There is misunderstanding and incomprehension about the direction of my action. I profoundly regret it." He admitted he made some political mistakes managing the controversy but said he would not resign. AP has more.

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