more cpe info

A bit of History: The CPE (contrat premiere embauche) is a work contract that the government has just voted into place, which is meant for people under 26 years of age. This contract differs from others that exist in France in that for the first 2 years of work, a young person can be fired without the employer having to justify his or her decision to terminate the position or the employee. This may sound pretty normal to you since in the US, employers pretty much have this liberty (this is of course excluding any unlawful discrimination), but in France this idea is brand new. Up until now, all French people have fought for, succeeded in getting, and enjoyed very good job security no matter what the sector of employment or the age of the employee. With this new contract, French people are objecting to the decrease in job security, the touchy issue of age discrimination (this contract is for under 26 year olds), and the obvious issue that there are some sectors where young people will be hit harder than others. Take for example a construction worker and a lawyer. Well, the construction worker probably could start his or her career at age 18 or 19 since there is little schooling/training required before jumping into a job. That person would have to deal with this controversial contract for 7-8 years of his or her career! A lawyer, however, won’t finish school until about 25 or 26, so this person could basically avoid ever being a victim of this contract since he or she will be old enough to be considered unaffected by the contract. You all see the socio-professional issues this raises…..time to strike!! And there is more! The issue is obviously more complicated than I have just described…

What is going on now?: Saturday, March 18th is meant to be the largest of the official strike days announced since February. Authorities are expecting 1.5 million protestors on the streets of France. In Paris, these demonstrations will take place throughout the city (basically from Denfert Rochereau to Nation) starting after lunch (must have a good meal first!) The demonstrations have proven quite successful thus far; as yesterday officials announced that while only about 1/2 of French people disapproved of this contract a couple of weeks ago, now 68% of French people wish the government to retract the decision to put the contract in place! Chirac is calling for negotiations now, which is a sign that the demonstrators are making ground! We can be sure that next week will be a turning point in the issue, and more demonstrations and strikes may be put into place.

Advisory for Americans in France-March 17, 2006-U.S. residents and travelers to France are advised that large street demonstrations are planned for Saturday, March 18. Authorities estimate that one million people may turn out in cities across France in opposition to a proposed youth employment plan. Demonstrations already held on March 16 involved several hundred thousand people. Events turned violent as police responded to unruly behavior by firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors who pelted them with paving stones, crowd control barriers and Molotov cocktails. There have been over 300 arrests nationwide and injuries on both sides.Americans are warned to avoid any demonstrations and to immediately move away from areas where large congregations of people have gathered, as apparently peaceful demonstrations can quickly turn violent. There is no prediction as to which areas to avoid, as the previous demonstrations have occurred in many areas of Paris, including areas often frequented by tourists, as well as other cities throughout France including Marseilles, Bordeaux, Rennes, Nancy, and Toulouse. Americans should stay informed about the current situation by paying attention to the extensive news coverage of events. U.S. citizens living in France or visiting for even short stays can register with the U.S. Embassy at the website shown below. Americans who find themselves in emergency situations can also find contact information for the U.S. Embassy below.

  • Jaggae

    Review CPE First Job Contract Petition

    I empathise with the French youths. As a Singaporean who graduated in 2001, I had to change 6 jobs in 3 years because of the recession. If not for my country’s labour laws, us fresh graduates would have fared worse. Please take some time to read this petition and sign it. Do forward to everybody you know.

    Thank you,
    Jaclynn Gay