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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La gauche salue le retrait du CPE

by By Olivier Mayer

The Left Celebrates the Withdrawal of the Law on First Job Contracts (CPEs)

Translated by Patrick Bolland

Translated Sunday 16 April 2006, by Patrick Bolland

“A setback to those in power” for the Socialist Party. For the French Communist Party, this victory is a follow-up of the No vote on the European Constitution.

“At last, the CPE has been withdrawn!” Together with Socialist Party first-secretary François Hollande, the Left in France is practically unanimous in celebrating the Chirac government’s decision to wipe the CPE legislation off the statute books. For Hollande, it was “a setback to those in power, a success for the youth, a victory for trade union unity ... The Socialists ... are proud to be involved in this outcome, even if we have to remain vigilant about the new Law that will be proposed and that the Clauses that have been withdrawn don’t re-appear surrepticiously.”

For the Green Party, “This victory was won thanks to the unity of millions of youths and workers, the high-school, university and workers organizations, and the parties of the Left ». For Jean-Pierre Chevènement’s Mouvement Républicain et Citoyen (MRC), “The social movement gained a battle, now it’s for the Left to win the war”. For its part the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) is only too happy that Jacques Chirac and the Government now have to “eat their words”: “All the demands presented by this movement now have to be met: withdrawal of the CNEs [labour contracts for first hiring in companies with less than 20 employees, adopted last April] , and annulling the Law on Equal Opportunities. The repression directed towards hundreds of youths must stop immediately”.

For the Communists (PCF), “the victory that this popular movement has just obtained, like the victory on 29 May last year (against the European Constitution) shows we have to break with the whole neo-liberal agenda”, Yet, the PCF states pointedly, “the new project announced by the government and the UMP party leaders in the National Assembly and Senate shows absolutely no sign of this.” So “the other clauses in the Equal Opportunity Law remain intact”, and the CNE remains operative. “We fought and we won!” announce the Young Communists (JC): “De Villepin wants to have a large debate on jobs for the youth. Hey! Of course the youth have proposals to make.” The JC has rejected “ineffective social and neo-liberal arrangements for the last 30 years, such as the measures involving social destruction proposed by the Right”. Alain Bocquet, president of the Communist group at the National Assembly, considers that “the [government’s] announcement that they will replace the CPE ... is a real conjuring trick”. His group is therefore committing itself “to the complete withdrawal of the CPE and to propose measures required to end the whole framework of refusing to provide job security that has been the dominant theme of the national employers’ association (MEDEF).”

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