Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Doogie Howser, Economist?

So it's official: I live in a country where economic policy is determined by students. Because after two months of protests, the French government yesterday decided to scrap its youth-labor law, otherwise known as the CPE. The reason? Nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with vote-catching, I'm afraid. With elections looming next year, President Chirac (who's been in office for 11 years) saw his ratings fall to their lowest level in three years because of the protests - and that's not good news for his party. The labor and student unions are hailing the decision as a victory. Right. With French youth employment running at 22% in February, I feel it's kind of a hollow one. France's rigid labor laws remain in place and employers will be as reluctant as ever to hire here.
P.S. I see from the BBC that the student and labor unions are planning to celebrate their "victory" with... another day of marches. You couldn't make it up, could you?

22 comments:

Rob7534 said...

As the ever wise Whitney Houston says,

I believe the children are our future,

Treat them well and let them lead the way.

Show them all the beauty they posess inside!


A clear majority of employment in America is based on "at will" employment. Meaning an employeer can fire the employee at any time, for any reason (unless specifically outlawed by the Federal Civil Rights bill) as they see fit. Unless you are in a union, which will fight on your behalf, or you have a contract w/the employeer which clearly states the terms in which you can be fired.

I don't know anything about French Labor Practices, so can't really comment.

I tend to side w/the protesters, because deep down under my refined facade, there is a chained up nihilist dying to be set free!

kim said...

I went to school yesterday for the weekly blockade meeting, and alas, the school is staying blocked yet another week. Why? "They didn't listen! They only changed the CPE! What about the CNE? What about the Loi sur l'Egalité des Chances? What about more posts in the concours?!"

Kill. Me.

rhino75 said...

Well, at the moment, it's virtually impossible to fire anyone, and employees get on average 8+ weeks paid vacation, free healthcare, help with transport costs, and vouchers for meals. Kinda cushy, isn't it? And part of the reason the economy is in the toilet. But then I work for corporate America, albeit a diluted continental version!!

rhino75 said...

Whitney also said she wanted to "dance with somebody, somebody who loves me" and she ended up with Bobby Brown. I think we should be wary of taking advice from someone with a habit :)

Frog with a Blog said...

Rhino, do you get 8+ weeks paid vacation per year? I don't, I ONLY get 7+! Unfair.
The problem is whatever happens, whichever side the government is, France will always remain a street democracy. Yesterday's scrap is just another example of efficient demonstrations are. I'm really surprised the whole CPE disappeared, politicians have no credibility any longer in this country... I want Whitney for president in 2007 (although her "Didn't we almost have it all" motto might encourage demonstrators even more...)

rhino75 said...

I sure do, which is why I'm heading off on the Grand Tour!! I'm on some kind of super "cadre" contract that allows me to work until all my vital functions shut down in exchange for a few extra days off. But I don't get Tickets Restaurant, as *showbiz* HQ provides food (of a kind). ::sigh::

Kieran said...

I am slightly concerned. I'm pleased in one sense that France retains its democratic values, but on the other hand I'm worried that without reform the unemployment is going to worsen rather than improve. I think the only reasonable solution is too start a war, preferably against Leeds, in which sufficient numbers of young people are occupied and the glory of France can be restored. The far less attractive solution could be far more dangerous - tampering with France's socialist structures. Given that the French standard of education is far higher than that in the UK it's wrong that youth unemployment should be so high. If in doubt, march.

Frog with a Blog said...

Kieran, why should we start a war against Leeds, why not Manchester? Actually, when you think about it, these domestic problems we have in France are all because of England! Yeah! That's right. Now that England is not the traditional ennemy any longer, we are so bored to death that we just fight with each other. I say Invade Leeds!

PS: Is it appropriate to drink half a bottle of wine for lunch on a work day? ooooh, I'm in trouble...

Reluctant Nomad said...

I think I want to move to France.

rhino75 said...

Kieran, I know what you mean, though I would suggest that any attack should be centred on Betty's Tea room in Harrogate. The jam and cream factor would liven things up. Micke, I thought it was you, sitting on the steps of the Opera, swilling out of a brown paper bag. I thought those days where behind you...

Babsbitchin said...

I haven't had a vacation in years.
7+ ,8+ weeks OMG, I wish. I'm moving to France. Lookout guys Babs is on the horizon. Frog, ol' buddy, a man after my heart drinking out of a paper bag. Why, were you hiding cheap wine? Can you find me a room to let? I will promise to drink cheap wine on the steps of theOpera w/ you!! Oh, I'm so excited!!

Rob7534 said...

I want to move to France now too!

8+ weeks paid vacation.

Nearly impossible to fire me!

I'm so THERE!

Babsbitchin said...

Come on Rob, we'll just do it. Think of your career, you'd be a hit in Paris and I'll be your room mate. But...are you willing to drink cheap wine from a bag on the Opera steps, it's a pre-requisit?

Frog with a Blog said...

Who says you'd have to drink cheap wine from a bag on the steps of the Opéra when you can drink fine wines for free at the fab Rhino75 Towers?

Babsbitchin said...

You do realize my son dates the regional supervisor for U.S.Air. I'm getting a ticket as I write this. Be very afraid! And free wine, well, I'm sold.
Mais je ne veux pas vous effrayer les garçons français. Je suis la raison la plupart des hommes tournent gais!Gay!!

rhino75 said...

Allez Babs, je suis sûr que ce n'est pas le cas!!

Babsbitchin said...

Oh, it is absolutely true!Doutez-vous de moi le cher rhino?

Reluctant Nomad said...

Does Rhino towers also serve copious quantities of free red wine?

rhino75 said...

No, Micke is trying to mislead you all. He's the red wine man, I'm more of a champagne, vodka and tequila person (I am actually slightly allergic to red wine, would you believe?)

Babsbitchin said...

Well don't let me lead you astray rhino, I prefer Vodka too. I do like a nice champagne, not Cold Duck!
Nous toasterons avec la Vodka quand je vous vois!

Frog with a Blog said...

Bon puisque tout le monde écrit en français, j'en profite.
Non, mais c'est quoi ces conneries? Je disparais pendant 2 jours et Rhino est devenu allergique au vin rouge! C'est la meilleure de l'année ça!
Je comprends que tu sois allergique aux vins espagnols, italiens ou australiens car c'est de la piquette. Mais un bon Bordeaux, c'est quasiment un médicament voyons! Impossible d'être allergique à un bon Bordeaux... Rhô la la!

Babsbitchin said...

Évidemment ma grenouille, il ne peut pas être allergique à bourdeaux