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French PM Vows to Continue Jobs Bill Fight


French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin says he will continue to work for his controversial youth employment law.

Mr. de Villepin was asked at a press conference if he would resign. He replied that President Jacques Chirac had entrusted him with a mission and he would see it through to completion.

The prime minister drafted the bill after last year's nationwide youth unrest as an incentive for employers to hire more young workers.

Protests against the bill have erupted across France in recent weeks. The new law allows companies to hire young people for a two-year probationary period. The government says the law will cut France's high unemployment rate. Opponents say it will not protect young workers.

Wednesday, leaders of France's two largest trade unions met with officials of Mr. Chirac's ruling party about ways to resolve the crisis.

The union chiefs told French media the politicians listened to their demands and promised they would respond after they meet today with leaders of other unions.

Earlier, the country's main trade unions and student groups demanded the French government repeal the jobs law before April 17.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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