US boss insults France's 'so-called workers'
French workers have hit back at scathing comments made about them by Maurice Taylor, the CEO of US tyre company Titan International.PT2M19S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2euyc 620 349 February 22, 2013
PARIS: The head of the US tyre maker Titan International has fired a broadside at French ''so-called workers'', claiming they ''work only three hours a day'' and his company would be ''stupid'' to take over a factory in the country.
The letter from Titan's chairman and chief executive, Maurice Taylor, to France's Industry Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, reignited a heated debate over French productivity and waning competitiveness.
The letter in the financial daily newspaper Les Echos from ''The Grizz'', as Mr Taylor is known, is unabashed: ''The French workforce gets paid high wages but work only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!''
Titan Tire Corporation President Maury Taylor has written a stinging letter to the French government, blasting the French work ethic saying workers waste time talking. Photo: AP
Mr Montebourg had floated the idea that Titan, which makes agricultural tyres, might take over a Goodyear factory in Amiens, threatened with closure.
The communist-backed CGT union, France's largest, strongly opposed a Titan takeover last year. Mr Montebourg had hoped to rekindle the company's interest but admitted defeat this month.
''Sir, your letter says you want Titan to start a discussion,'' Mr Taylor said. ''How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tyres. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tyres. He doesn't care if those tyres come from China or India or if those tyres are subsidised.
''Titan is going to buy Chinese or Indian tyres, pay less than €1 ($1.30) an hour to workers and export all the tyres that France needs,'' he said. ''In five years, Michelin won't be producing tyres in France. You can keep your so-called workers.''