March 28, 2006


France hit by nationwide protest strike (JAMEY KEATEN, 3/28/06, Associated Press)

Paris deployed police by the thousands Tuesday before the latest massive protest over a new youth employment law, and commuters across France struggled to get to work during a nationwide strike over the measure.

It's not as if they do anything once they get there anyway...

Riots in France, Quiet Debates in Germany (Markus Dettmer and Stefan Simons, 3/28/06, Der Spiegel)

For many young workers, entering the job market means accepting temporary contacts, working multiple jobs and going through regular periods of unemployment. This is as true of manual workers as it is of people with a background in engineering or academic studies.

Often it takes as many as eight years to arrive at a permanent position. Almost a quarter of those under 25 are unemployed, one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Europe. But the problem isn't just limited to France -- youth unemployment has reached record levels all over Europe. For its part, Germany has fared somewhat better, with a total youth unemployment rate of 15 percent, putting it at 16th place worldwide.

With his legislation, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin wanted to cure the French malady all by himself while scoring points against Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, his main contender for the office of president. Now it looks as if the prime minister's proposed reform of the labor market will be vanquished by student resistance and the categorical "non" the trade unions have given the law.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2006 9:19 AM

If only there was a bigger market in the world for "rent-a-mob" operations, the French could export their labor force for something they apparently sincerely love to do.

Posted by: John at March 28, 2006 9:54 AM

It is rather "unwork" Monsieur OJ ... and not "not-work" -- you had only to keep in mind what I said so well in L'Être et le Néant.. that existence precedes and rules essence ... what does it matter how much we produce? It is getting paid for doing nothing or little that proves we exist! The state sees the man, the state mails a check, the man sees his name on the check of the state. Voila! ens causa sui. (And cigarettes and coffee for one more week.)

Posted by: Jean-Paul Sartre at March 28, 2006 12:55 PM

The words "French" and "work" are antonyms. Another reason why Montreal became the 2nd largest Canadian city 30 years ago, having been the largest for over a century.

Posted by: obc at March 28, 2006 1:00 PM

A friend of my daughter's is an intern in an architectural firm in France. Her boss constantly complains of how busy she was, how much of her work was not done. But,like everybody else in the offic,she's taking a two hours lunch everyday. The French are simply lazy.

Posted by: ic at March 28, 2006 4:37 PM