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The employees of the national job centres (Pole Emploi) went on a one day strike yesterday in order to protest against the involvement of private temporary staffing agencies in the recruitment process and to highlight their poor working conditions, Le Monde reports.
Ever since the merger of the two previous organisations ANPE and Assedic in January 2009 into the current Pole Emploi, the new organisation's employees have complained about the disorganisation of the new agency, the dysfunctional computer system and the lack of training they receive combined with a hugely increase workload due to increased unemployment levels.
The unions (SNU-FSU, CGT, SUD and Snap) also resent last year's decision by the government to hand over the placing into work of 320,000 job seekers registered with Pole Emploi to private employment agencies.
Whilst Pole Emploi employees were out striking, the government plans to further but currently un-specifically liberalise the recruitment sector by opening it up to an even larger degree to the private sector.
Sylvette Uzan-Chomat of the SNU union told French daily L'Humanite "if the law [on further liberalisation of the employment sector] is passed, any old soup vendor can start up a staffing agency and nobody would supervise the avoidance of conflicts of interest anymore. This would take us straight back to the beginnings of the twentieth century."