Protesters have clashed again with police in Paris during a demonstration against new labor law reforms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Clashes with French police broke out in Paris on Thursday (September 15) during a protest against a change of labor law that makes hiring and firing easier. Labor union leaders said they intended to challenge application decrees - documents that spell out exactly how the law applies on the ground. The new law, forced through parliament in July by the government in the face of a rebellion by ruling party lawmakers, is designed to make France's rigid labor market more flexible, in part by allowing firms to tailor pay and work terms to their needs more easily. Seven months before the first round of a wide-open presidential election, President Francois Hollande is still plagued by near double-digit unemployment and hopes the new legislation will help lower the jobless rate. Although Hollande has hinted clearly his intent to run, the president has previously said he would only enter the race if he could claim to have made inroads against unemployment. At their peak, the street protests brought close to 400,000 people into the streets last March but turnout has steadily fallen as public appetite to fight the law in the street wanes. The unions say the law will undermine high standards of labor protection as well as their ability to represent workers, notably in small firms where the law will allow employers and employees to negotiate deals on issues like overtime pay. A decade ago, then-President Jacques Chirac's government center-right government scrapped legislation to reform the labor market after it had been approved by parliament. It was pulled after weeks of violent youth protests.