France waits what Chirac will do about proposed job law

France is waiting to hear what President Jacques Chirac will do about the proposed jobs law that has sparked weeks of mass unrest.

Chirac speaks on national television Friday evening following a court ruling in favor of the law, a decision unions say is a call for more protests.

On Thursday the constitutional court ruled that the jobs bill does not discriminate based on age, and in fact even favors younger workers. The case had been brought before the court by the Socialist Party.

The court also ruled that the argument that the bill would violate international employment union and European Union regulations is a matter for those unions and the EU to decide, not the French court.

The bill, called the contrat premier embauche, or CPE, would allow employers to hire and fire workers who are 26 years old and younger any time within their first two years of employment for any reason.

Under current French law, merit in the workplace has little sway. Workers cannot be easily or inexpensively fired.

As a result, employers are reluctant to hire new workers, contributing to an overall French unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

Chirac still has nine days to sign the bill into law. He could opt instead to send it back to the country's parliament for further consideration, reports CNN.

I.L.

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