Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spirit of 1871

The French take their labor rights seriously, if only we would in the United States. Via the NYTs:
Facing crippling strikes and growing civil unrest, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin of France on Tuesday discussed watering down his contentious new labor law with legislators.

But union leaders, who have refused to begin a dialogue with the government until it has rescinded the law, showed no signs of budging on their promise to carry out nationwide protests and strikes next week. The law gives companies the right to hire employees 25 or younger for a two-year trial period, during which they can be fired without cause.

"The basic demand of the youth and of employees is that the law be withdrawn," said GĂ©rard Aschieri, head of the Unitary Union Federation, France's largest teachers union syndicate. "He has to respond to the people in the street."
(Here's WaPo's story as well.)

For a little trip down memory lane here's a backgrounder on the most rebellious French laborites during the inspiring days of the Paris Commune.

POSTSCRIPT: The NYTs article is honest enough to print that the lad lying in a coma in a Paris hospital was not from "violence" as WaPo reports, but the recipient of skull-cracking blows from a Paris police officer.