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French Ruling Conservatives to Modify Youth Jobs Law


France's ruling conservative party says it will work to modify a controversial new youth labor law to include changes based on talks with youth and labor union leaders demanding its repeal.

The Union for a Popular Movement's parliamentary leader, Bernard Accoyer, made the announcement Friday after government officials ended three days of discussions with labor union and student group leaders to find a compromise. No details of those talks have been made public.

Ruling party officials in Paris say a new draft law could be ready by Monday.

Millions of people have taken to the streets across France in recent weeks to protest the jobs measure, which makes it easy for companies to fire young employees.

Unions and student groups are threatening to continue the protests unless the government scraps the law by April 17.

Street demonstrations to protest the law continued Friday. A motorist drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Paris, injuring several people, including the driver.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin drafted the law to give flexibility to employers with the goal of reducing France's 22 percent youth unemployment rate.

The law would let companies dismiss workers under the age of 26 at any time, for any reason, during the first two years of employment.

Opponents of the measure say it would reduce job security.

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

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