French PM's gamble to defuse student revolt against labour law reform

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François Hollande’s expected bid for a new term of office in presidential elections next year is facing a serious threat from growing student anger over his government’s proposed new labour law. A string of national protests have brought student and trades unions onto the streets in recent weeks against what they see as a pro-business, retrograde reform that heightens job insecurity at a time of record unemployment. The perspective of a spring revolt prompted the government to present a package of measures for the young on Monday, worth a yearly 500 million euros and aimed at easing access to the labour market and to provide financial aid for the worst off. But while the measures were broadly met with approval, the student unions vowed to continue the battle against the reform. Faïza Zerouala reports.

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The possibility that the French government might abandon its controversial new labour law, which has brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets in opposition to the reform, is no longer on the agenda with the bill now on its path through parliament.