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French protest unpopular reform

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 01:35

French President Francois Hollande says the battle is not won against unemployment, and driving through labor reforms aimed at delivering jobs is more important than presidential popularity. And as Laura Frykberg reports, protests against the reforms are not letting up.

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On the streets of the French capital, they're fed up... At unemployment, still above 10 percent, and how President Francois Hollande plans to fix it. His solution? To push new labour reforms though parliament. A move which has divided his party, and seen his popularity plummet. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "This law is going to be passed. It's going to be passed. Why? Because it's been debated, it's been discussed, it's been corrected, it's been amended. I will not give in because too many governments have given in, that's why the country was in the state it was in in 2012." The reforms reduce labour regulation, giving companies more power to set conditions. While opponents fear that would reduce workers' rights, analysts say it would encourage employment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER SAYING: "The labour force in France is just not flexible enough and just discourages companies from taking on new workers. Obviously in harder times companies are able to shed workers easier without the restrictions that currently exist in France, but I think when you look over the longer term to have that kind of flexibility allows the country to be more flexible, encourage entrepreneurialism and grow faster." Hollande says he'll only stand for president again if he gets more people into jobs. In the mean time, revised French GDP figures could provide him with a little bit of relief. They grew by 1.3 percent last year, instead of the original estimate of 1.2.

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French protest unpopular reform

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 01:35