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French PM unveils job creation drive for young people

French PM Valls and Labour Minister El Khomri attend a meeting with UNEF on the lalour law proposal. Reuters/Charles Platiau

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls unveiled measures on Monday to help young people into work. This follows weeks of protests by young people against proposed reforms oif current labour laws.

Valls put the proposals to a meeting of eight youth organisations that oppose the reforms, including UNEF, the biggest student union.

UNEF welcomed the measures, saying they were "a genuine response to young people's demands" but did not rule out joining the next major protest on 28 April.

Youth unemployment

Youth unemployment currently stands at around 25 percent.

The measures, worth up to 500 million euros a year, include an initiative to encourage employers to hire young workers on full-time contracts rather than on a part-time basis.

Another proposal is for new graduates of modest means to receive a four-month extension to their study grants to help tide them over until they find work.

Valls' office believes 126,000 people could benefit from the latter measure.

The government argues that the reforms aim to make France's rigid labour market more flexible, but opponents say they are too 'pro-business'.

 - with AFP