I was still trying to get my head around French millennials’ anger at the proposed Loi El Khomri labor reform bill when said sullenness erupted (well, more “slouched” than “erupted”) into Nuit Debout, the French version of Occupy Wall Street.
Apparently, Paris was never Occupied because back when that was a thing, the millennial Frogs were too busy gloating over the impending election of a Socialist, Francois Hollande (not to be confused with the cute lesbians in Mulholland Drive,) as their president to sit out in the street wailing for more free stuff. But lo and behold, under Hollande’s crypto-capitalist reign, along comes a horrible fascist plot to (dutt-durr-duuuut!) GIVE THEM JOBS.
Yes, this is what they’re so mad about: the Loi El Khomri is supposed to allow millennials into the work force by making French employees easier to fire; it’s a tiny dose of the free market, designed to evilly pry them from the warm, mushy arms of the welfare state.
At present, the entire French economy works like the US Post Office: firing anyone basically requires the employer to prove that the employee has tried to set the office on fire at least 7.5 times this year. The Loi El Khomri proposes to make it possible for companies to get rid of the useless Baby Boomers who have been sitting on the good jobs since 1973 so they can hire some millennials. At present, due to the restrictive firing laws, a disproportionate number of the millennials and gen-Xers who DO have a job are working under CDDs, or temporary work contracts, because employers are afraid to give them a more stable deal under a CDI (an “indefinite” work contract, i.e. a real job). If the economy contracts or the employee is a lemon, it’s harder to get rid of the CDIs. So it’s much less risky to give young people (who aren’t well-known for their work ethic these days) crappy temp employment. By eliminating a few disincentives to hiring them, the Loi El Khomri might improve their job prospects.
You would think they would love this, right?
I can’t help but suspect they sort of like having an excuse to be on welfare.
Granted, the Nuit Debout list of complaints is broader than one law; in fact it’s no less amorphous than the Occupy movement’s list To paraphrase what a friend said of Black Lives Matter, it more or less amounts to LARPing the 1960s.
Oddly, none of their demands include closing the borders of the EU or ceasing to fund jihad.