Sunday, March 19, 2006

French labor law protests turn violent

One consequence of the labour code that French students are protesting is the highest youth unemployment in Western Europe. Were it not for Britain providing jobs - many in catering - to hundreds of thousands of young French people, the situation would be even worse.

The "job security" these young protestors yearn for is illusory. There is no security unless you can first get a job. With millions of French employees "placardis├ęs" (given non-jobs with no prospects because it's too expensive to fire them) no employer will hire young people too inexperienced to be useful on terms that they can't be fired if they don't progress.

Opportunity is better than security. Sure it varies through economic cycles, but "job security" tends to intensify those cycles. It is noticeable when I visit Britain these days that a sense of job security has destroyed what was always a very weak service culture. Why worry about customers, when your boss can't find anyone to replace you whatever you do?

We would all have a healthier attitude to our employment; be more motivated and - ironically - enjoy our work more, if our job were a valuable commodity to be looked after, rather than a civil right.

CNN.com - French labor law protests turn violent - Mar 18, 2006

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