French government refuses to back down over youth labour bill

The French government has indicated that it will not back down over its controversial youth labour law, despite union threats of a general strike.

Prime minister Dominique de Villepin said the law should be given a chance to work, but added it could be improved.

Trade unions have given the government until Monday night to withdraw the law.

The new law allows employers to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during a two-year trial period without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning.

The government said this will encourage employers to hire young people, but students fear it will erode job stability in a country where more than 20% of 18-to-25-year-olds are unemployed.

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