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Thursday, January 22, 1998 Published at 01:15 GMT



World

Be patient, Jospin tells jobless
image: [ Mr Jospin has denied that his government is being dictated by the drive for European Monetary Union ]
Mr Jospin has denied that his government is being dictated by the drive for European Monetary Union

France's Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, has appeared on national television to attempt to quell a wave of protests from the country's jobless.

During the interview, Mr Jospin said that his government stood "alongside with the unemployed" but stressed that "everything is not possible immediately."

He said he would stick to his economic plans and denied that his government was being dictated to by the drive for European Monetary Union.

He also argued that it was essential not to damage the existing climate of confidence and growth and promised that the long-term unemployed would be given political priority.


[ image: Ada Pittau:
Ada Pittau: "Finding a job is now just a dream"
But few among the estimated three million unemployed in France say they care about the single currency. Instead they demand higher benefits and they want the government to act immediately.

A spokesperson for the Strasbourg Unemployment Action Group, Ada Pittau, says many people fear they will never find work again.

"Finding a job is now just a dream," she said. "I was a secretary and work like that has been destroyed by new technology."

"Even young people only get taken on special schemes, where the government picks up the bill."

The government argue that their plans to introduce a 35 hour working week, which according to three recent studies should create hundreds of thousands of jobs, will help alleviate the problem.

But some industrialists say they are not convinced. The president of the French manufacturing firm Steel Case Strafor, Jean-Charles Pauze, says the government's new idea will simply not work.

"The work time reduction does not also bring a solution for unemployment," he said. "It cannot and will not bring jobs."


 





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