Revenge of the Jobless

Reform in France has always been dramatic, but never quite like this. The nation's annual Molière theater awards went unplugged last week, after performing-arts workers protesting a cut in their unemployment scheme stormed the Paris event and convinced stage hands to walk out. The scene verged on the surreal as actors collected their awards without music, backdrops, professional lighting or even microphones.

All over France, unemployment has taken center stage. The spat over unemployment compensation in performing arts threatens to disrupt the Cannes film festival in mid-May. And two weeks ago, a Marseilles court overturned a 2002 reform...

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