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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: 72 % des Français attachés au maintien du CDI

by Sébastien Crépel

72% of French Want No Change In Permanent Job Contracts

Translated Wednesday 16 January 2013, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

According to a BVA opinion poll, a large majority thinks that elimination of the only stable job contract would increase insecurity.

The message is clear. According to the latest economic situation poll done by BVA and published by Challenges and BFM-TV, “the French, like the trade unions, do not want to hear talk about eliminating permanent job contracts,” commented Gaël Sliman, the director of the polling institute.

72% of the French, as against 26%, reject the plan (2% have no opinion). Thus, a large majority of those polled approve the idea that “all it would do would be to throw workers who enjoy a permanent job contract into the same kind of insecurity that is experienced by workers who have fixed-term contract or a temporary job, without in any way improving things for insecure workers and the unemployed,” according to the leading response chosen by those polled.

Better yet: “Elimination of permanent job contracts is not even approved of by a majority of right-wingers,” Géël Sliman continued, “whereas in 2007 it figured among the measures envisaged by Nicolas Sarkozy.” 64% of those who sympathize with the right wing reject any elimination of the permanent job contract.

It comes as no surprise that hostility to changes in the permanent job contract is highest among left-wingers, with 78% favoring keeping it. The idea that you can boost employment by making it easier to lay people off is also rejected, by 56% to 42%, although its “acceptance has very clearly increased over the past five years” (up 15%) according to BVA.

These figures are likely to dampen not only the ardor of the main bosses’ association, the MEDEF, and that of the right wing, but also that of the far-right National Front. On January 10, the National Front was again speaking in ultra-free-trade and pro-boss tones. Speaking on BFM TV, National Front leader Marine Le Pen came out in favor of breaking up the code of law governing employment by “differentiating” between the rights of workers at big corporations and small companies, saying that “it’s too expensive” for small companies “to lay off workers.”

This is an old technique, beloved of the far right, for dividing the working class. The far right is once again denouncing the “big trade unions” that supposedly are “not representative.” Marine Le Pen even came to the defense of the bosses’ association CGPME and opposed “taxing short-term job contracts.”

On that point, another opinion poll, done by Opinionway for LCI, pulls the rug from under the feet of the National Front president. 59% of the French back the trade union demand that such a tax be imposed. The figure rises to 77% among people who voted for François Hollande in the French presidential election (whereas 57% of those who voted for Nicolas Sarkozy oppose the measure).

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