France - US

French 'so-called' workers work three hours a day, claims US tyre boss

Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
3 min

A US tyre company boss has laid into France’s “so-called” workers in a letter to a French minister, accusing them of working just three hours a day for high wages. Titan chief Maurice “Morry The Grizz” Taylor says he will invest in India or China rather than take over the Goodyear plant in Amiens, northern France.

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Explaining Titan’s decision not to take over the Goodyear plant in Amiens, Taylor blamed French working practices.

“The French workforce gets high wages but works only three hours [a day],” he wrote in a vitriolic letter to Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg, published in French and English by business daily Les Echos. “They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.

“I told this to the French workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!”

Taylor, whose company buys up failing businesses and produces agricultural vehicle tyres under licence for Goodyear, claimed that the French government and unions “did nothing but talk” during efforts to save the 1,173 jobs that are due to go if the plant closes.

“Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are?” he continues.

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Montebourg, who on Tuesday staged the first of eight presentations to promote “made in France” businesses, declined to comment, while government spokesperson pointed out that France is the European country with the highest level of US investment.

Union representative Mickaël Wamen judged the Titan boss “more fit for the insane asylum than for holding the reins of a multinational”.

He said the union was planning to file a lawsuit in the US against Goodyear and Titan over the closure of the plant.

Taylor, a failed candidate for the Republican nomination for US president in 1996, has a YouTube channel on which he posts videos that promote his company and dispense advice to President Barack Obama on how to run the economy.

Although he praises American workers as “the best workers in the world” in one of his videos, his letter informs Montebourg that Titan will buy a Chinese or Indian company “pay less than one euro and hour and ship all the tires France needs”.

“You can keep the so-called workers,” it concludes. “I have no interest in the Amien [sic] North factory.”

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