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Archive for Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Unions, student groups call for day of strikes

March 21, 2006

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— The student and union protests over a youth job plan in France continued Monday, when a national day of strikes was set for March 28. Huge recent street demonstrations have paralyzed many universities.

The labor unions wanted French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to withdraw his jobs plan by Monday night, but he showed little sign of backing down. Instead he met with student groups and urged calm dialogue.

The law, passed by parliament this month, is designed to reduce youth unemployment by making it easier for companies to hire and fire. But critics fear it will hurt job security.

Students are angry the law was pushed through quickly.

"They only agree to talks when a million people go into the streets to demonstrate, so we refuse to talk to them until they withdraw it," said Bruno Julliard, leader of the UNEF, the largest student groups.

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