French Youth Cry Foul — No At-Will Employment!

I’m ashamed for my fellow 18-25 year old’s who are marching and rioting in the streets of Paris right now against……at-will employment. See Coyote Blog for a brief bit on the ridiculousness of this.

I want to seek out the young people leading these riots when I’m there this summer and try to understand their perspective. It makes no sense to me.

10 comments on “French Youth Cry Foul — No At-Will Employment!
  • As European, I think I need to say something here.

    First, one should consider all the facts, get the facts straight, and do a thorough investigation instead of ranting about the ridiculousness of what happened in France based on a newspaper article (see Coyote Blog).

    Second, most European countries (not only France) have one or the other law in place enforcing a two-sided ‘protection period’ (usually a couple of months) that protects employees from being fired at the spot and employers from losing employees without warning. These regulations work both ways and are put in place for protection.

    Third, in France they tried to enforce at-will contracts for a particular part of the population, namely the under 26-year-old, which is nothing else but discrimination. Europeans, and I suppose anyone else in the world, certainly don’t like that.

    Fourth, when I came to the US I had the reverse cultural shock. I was utterly surprised when I received my first ‘at-will’ contract.

  • Ben,

    Don’t waste your time going to Paris. In the summer Paris will be empty of local life and full of tourists. Use your time in more dinamic and interesting places like Madrid, Prague or Berlin… There you can feel the european life. In Paris, besides the trend and big ego, they’re a bunch of socialists having the lack of reasoning to think that they have “acquired rights” over the society. The point is, I’m not stating that Paris is not a beautiful place deserving a visit, i’m just saying that for your first visit go somewhere else. I’m sure you’ll understand after visiting!

  • Hey Dave,

    I’m sorry, You’re right, i shouldn’t have used that kind of language.
    Amsterdam is the city of vice and freedom. I don’t care if my neighbor is socialist. Live and let live. Think and let others think freely. What is happening in Paris is shameful. People defending rights they claim as acquired against the society. Don’t misunderstand me, I go often to Paris and it’s a great city as there are other beautiful locations in France – at this time of the year La Provènce est magnifique.
    If you know Paris you’re aware that the worst time of the year to go there is in the summer.

  • I briefly employed a French teacher at a library I directed. He patiently explained the superiority of the French system where tenure, which I’ve always had mixed feelings about, has run amuck. His job was not only guaranteed for life, but he was guaranteed to be able to move where he wanted to within the country, even if a job didn’t currently exist there, because he had seniority.

    I just finished typing (and mostly uploading) a book of biographical essays published in 1905 about early Colorado pioneers. I now realize that economics are everything. A man loses both parents at age 12, and is on his own, but he manages to eventually homestead his 160 acres and through hard work, becomes wealthy. A 24-year-old with minimal education and $10 in his pocket, steps off the ship from Ireland into New York City, and eventually he ends up with his 160 acre homestead in Colorado and becomes wealthy and respected.

    I am extremely impoverished at the moment, but I have a huge tax refund coming thanks to Earned Income Credit; I have student loans to help me acquire additional education which I hope will pull me out of this current quagmire of poverty; my sons receive free school lunches and breakfasts; we received LEAP money to help with heating bills; if they hadn’t screwed up the application process, my sons would again have free health insurance; and we are getting by. I mention all of that as a way to say that I’m grateful that we aren’t such a purely capitalistic society that we lack all safeguards for the poor.

    I’m also grateful for the unions that my great-grandfather helped fight for by being imprisoned by the Colorado militia in the 1910s. The unions forced improvements in working conditions so that his great-grandson, who is also a coal miner, will never have black lung disease like my great-grandfather did (my brother was also able to earn a bachelor’s degree, unlike our great-grandfather who was taken out of school at the age of 9 to begin working in the coal mines of Missouri).

    Countries which guarantee employment for those who are already employed, but don’t do much for the unemployed create stagnation and discontent.

  • A little light reading for those angry French citizens – Unemployment rates across the world:

    1) Japan – 4.5%
    2) US – 4.7%
    3) Australia – 5.3%
    4) Germany – 9.3%
    5) France – 9.4%

    The numbers don’t lie – companies that are not allowed to adjust their workforce depending on business constraints will not hire as freely and contribute to innovation as those companies who have this freedom. Those ‘enlightened’ European citizens would do themselves a favor to understand government is not created to guarantee us anything – it is meant to establish the framework for success. The rest is up to us.

    I hope this serves as a friendly reminder of what could happen to the US of the recent socialist trend continues. Innovation (and all of it rewards) does not survive inside a vacuum – it needs freedom to thrive.

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