Youth in France Protest Over CPE Legislation

Despite angry student protests last weekend, the French governments First Employment Contract (CPE) legislation was passed on Monday allowing businesses to hire young workers for only a two-year trial, making it easier for them to get fired on short notice, according to BCCNews.com.

The CPE is a new contract that will allow employers to hire more workers under 26 for two years. They can be fired after those two years for no reason.  The law was created in response to last year's riots by unemployed youths in France. The government and other supporters of the CPE believe that this contract will decrease the high unemployment rate among the youth, however young workers think that this law does not give them job security or permanent jobs.

Hundreds of youths and teachers protested over the weekend in the Paris saying that the government should, "Throw away the job contract, don't throw away the youth!" according to the Washington Post.  Protester Nabila Ramdani told cnn.com, "It (CPE) jeopardizes basically the employment rights and security and, basically, it really puts into question the French tradition of having a secure job."

According to cnn.com youth unemployment in France is as high as 50 percent in many poor urban areas.  During the protests, cars were torched and restaurants were vandalized by youths, whose ages ranged from 18-25, who said they are victims of discrimination, police harassment and little to no access to jobs.

With a quarter of French youth out of work, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin maintains that this law will help France compete in the global market and will increase employment among the youth by getting companies to hire younger workers. Villepin told cnn.com that he will "rule out any withdrawal of the CPE, which must be given a chance to work." "For 20 years now, insecurity has been the daily reality for many young people in our country.  I refuse to do nothing," Villepin told BCC.new.com.

The contract must be examined by a cross-party committee before it is expected to become a law in April.