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    1. Member DSG-TDI's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:30 AM #1
      Damn, these guys make the UAW seem like an industrious bunch! 3 hours of work in a day?!?

      PARIS (Reuters) - The CEO of a U.S. tire maker has delivered a crushing summary of how some outsiders view France's work ethic in a letter saying he would have to be stupid to take over a factory whose staff only put in three hours work a day.

      Titan International's Maurice Taylor, nicknamed "The Grizz" for his negotiating style, told the left-wing French industry minister in a letter published by media on Wednesday that he had no interest in rescuing a plant set for closure.

      "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote on February 8 in the letter in English to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.

      "I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!" Taylor added in the letter, which was posted by business daily Les Echos on its website and which the ministry confirmed was genuine.

      "Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs," he said. "You can keep the so-called workers."

      Socialist President Francois Hollande might take some comfort in Taylor's view of his own country's business policies: "The U.S. government is not much better than the French," he said, referring to a dispute over Chinese exports.

      Montebourg's office said the letter was an authentic response to Paris consulting Titan as a possible buyer of U.S. group Goodyear's Amiens Nord factory in northern France.

      The minister refrained from an immediate reply: ""Don't worry, there will be a response," Montebourg told reporters on Wednesday after meeting Hollande. "It's better written down."

      Union leaders were less cautious. CGT official Mickael Wamen said Taylor belonged more "in an asylum" than the boardroom of a multinational company.

      DERISION

      Taylor's comments are the latest blow to France's image after verbal attacks last year by Montebourg on firms seeking to shut ailing industrial sites prompted international mockery.

      Combined with concerned over plans for a 75 percent "millionaires tax", Montebourg's antics drove London Mayor Boris Johnson to remark to an international business audience that it seemed France was being run by left-wing revolutionaries.

      Montebourg has also lashed out at cheap imports of manufactured goods from low-wage countries like China and last year told the boss of Indian steelmaker ArcelorMittal he was unwelcome in a spat over a shuttered plant in France.

      Despite having per-head productivity levels that rank among the best in Europe, economists blame France's rigid hiring and firing laws for a long industrial decline that has dented exports. Many also fault the country's 35-hour work week.

      Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co's Amiens Nord plant employs 1,250 workers, who have been battling demands that they work more shifts or accept layoffs. The government said in January that the site faced imminent closure.

      Talks with Titan over a possible purchase of the plant's farm tire section fell through last September after a failure to reach a deal with the CGT union on voluntary redundancies.

      Titan did not return calls on Monday evening for comment, but the company's website says that Wall Street analysts have dubbed Taylor "The Grizz" for his tough negotiating style.

      His letter to Montebourg accuses the French government of "doing nothing" in the face of Chinese competition.

      "Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are?" he wrote. "Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government."
      Last edited by DSG-TDI; 02-20-2013 at 11:44 AM.
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    2. Member sandiegan's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:43 AM #2

    3. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:49 AM #3
      True story: I used to run the restructuring (layoff) program from a financial perspective for a large F500 company. One quarter, two people with almost identical stats got laid off. One in America, one in France. Both had the same grade level, same number of years of service, and approximately the same salary. American got $12k as a severance package. Frenchman got over $400k. It was all due to laws, not the kindness of our hearts. And this was a relatively low-level employee, making ~$75k/yr.

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      02-20-2013 11:51 AM #4
      Personally, I will keep buying excellent French-branded tires (Michelin) and not any outsourced Chinese ones.
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    5. Member AHFlynn's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:53 AM #5
      "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote on February 8 in the letter in English to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.
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    6. Member GermaniuM's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:54 AM #6
      That was entertaining.

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      02-20-2013 11:54 AM #7
      "Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs," he said. "You can keep the so-called workers."
      Who needs French workers when you can exploit children from countries with lax labour laws!
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    8. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 11:55 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      Personally, I will keep buying excellent French-branded tires (Michelin) and not any outsourced Chinese ones.
      I've always thought Michelins to be overpriced and only average. The HXMX 4s on my TSX are fairly terrible all around, so it's a good thing they are $$$ to replace. I like the Bridgestone RE-11s on my S2000, and am about to order Dunlop Direzza IIs for ~$600, which I expect will be pretty danged good, especially for the $$$.

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      02-20-2013 11:57 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      I've always thought Michelins to be overpriced and only average. The HXMX 4s on my TSX are fairly terrible all around, so it's a good thing they are $$$ to replace. I like the Bridgestone RE-11s on my S2000, and am about to order Dunlop Direzza IIs for ~$600, which I expect will be pretty danged good, especially for the $$$.
      Hit and miss with my experience with Michelin.
      The HXMXM 4 was a mediocre tire, and super expensive to replace.
      The X Ice Xi2 I have now are great, not expensive at all.
      PS2s were amazing, but far too expensive.
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    10. Member adrew's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:03 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      I've always thought Michelins to be overpriced and only average. The HXMX 4s on my TSX are fairly terrible all around, so it's a good thing they are $$$ to replace. I like the Bridgestone RE-11s on my S2000, and am about to order Dunlop Direzza IIs for ~$600, which I expect will be pretty danged good, especially for the $$$.
      The OEM-ish ones that Honda typically uses are wholly average, especially the ancient Pilot HX MXM4 that they fit to their sportier models (the design is at least 10 years old). It is almost universally disliked, like the Bridgestone RE92 that Subaru used for years and years.

      I have never, ever been disappointed with a good set of Michelins. The Primacys are excellent:
      http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....toModClar=Base
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      02-20-2013 12:03 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      I've always thought Michelins to be overpriced and only average.
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    12. Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:04 PM #12
      LOLFrance. What a waste of beautiful countryside, history, art, and architecture
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      02-20-2013 12:05 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by DSG-TDI View Post
      Damn, these guys make the UAW seem like an industrious bunch! 3 hours of work in a day?!?
      They do have a different take on work, which I think is actually fairly healthy, but are we taking some blowhard CEO's hyperbole as factual?
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      02-20-2013 12:34 PM #14
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    15. Member sandiegan's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:39 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      True story: I used to run the restructuring (layoff) program from a financial perspective for a large F500 company. One quarter, two people with almost identical stats got laid off. One in America, one in France. Both had the same grade level, same number of years of service, and approximately the same salary. American got $12k as a severance package. Frenchman got over $400k. It was all due to laws, not the kindness of our hearts. And this was a relatively low-level employee, making ~$75k/yr.
      So, it would seem laying off the French person was a poor financial decision?

    16. Member boner's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:41 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      American got $12k as a severance package. Frenchman got over $400k. It was all due to laws, not the kindness of our hearts. And this was a relatively low-level employee, making ~$75k/yr.
      *starts looking for work in france!!!!*

    17. 02-20-2013 12:41 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Preppy View Post
      Who needs French workers when you can exploit children from countries with lax labour laws!
      Those kids need jobs too. Why give the opportunity to the unappreciative French?

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      02-20-2013 12:49 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      LOLFrance. What a waste of beautiful countryside, history, art, and architecture
      Pretty much.

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      02-20-2013 12:51 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      They do have a different take on work, which I think is actually fairly healthy, but are we taking some blowhard CEO's hyperbole as factual?
      This.

      France has been criticized for its labour laws, but quite frankly, just like any Western country, whatever it does, it will never be able to compete with China for cheap labour rates... until the Chinese get fed up of being exploited and start another revolution.

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      02-20-2013 12:52 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      They do have a different take on work, which I think is actually fairly healthy, but are we taking some blowhard CEO's hyperbole as factual?
      Some people don't care to know about both sides of an issue.
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    21. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:52 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by sandiegan View Post
      So, it would seem laying off the French person was a poor financial decision?
      Take your losses now or later. I wasn't the guy making the decisions, just handling the numbers.

    22. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:55 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      They do have a different take on work, which I think is actually fairly healthy
      Yes and no; I respect them religiously protecting their time off, breaks, and 37 hour work week, but their policies regarding severance, maternity leave, firing incompetence, etc, only serve to shoot themselves in the foot. Who wants to hire someone who will be so hard and $$$ to get rid of?


      but are we taking some blowhard CEO's hyperbole as factual?
      I'm sure it's hyperbole, but again, see my example. He is pretty right in spirit, if not in fact.

    23. Geriatric Member Turbio!'s Avatar
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      02-20-2013 12:59 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      Yes and no; I respect them religiously protecting their time off, breaks, and 37 hour work week, but their policies regarding severance, maternity leave, firing incompetence, etc, only serve to shoot themselves in the foot. Who wants to hire someone who will be so hard and $$$ to get rid of?

      I'm sure it's hyperbole, but again, see my example. He is pretty right in spirit, if not in fact.
      Total agreement. I agree that there's fire under the smoke, but it bore mention.

      And yes, I agree - Americans have gotten far too used to getting their free time and breaks whittled down to ****-all.
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      02-20-2013 01:05 PM #24
      It's a global labor market, and if you are going to work like that, you're not competitive. If you're not competitive, youre **** outta luck, as those Frenchies found out.

      They'd be better off opening an American factory in the south. Those people work hard and appreciate what they get.
      Quote Originally Posted by J-Tim View Post
      Still fail to see how a jacked up hatchback or wagon is better than the standard height one. Yes, putting the kid may require you to bend down a bit, but if the car is German, you're kind of used to that anyway.

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      02-20-2013 01:07 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by ajd187 View Post
      It's a global labor market, and if you are going to work like that, you're not competitive. If you're not competitive, youre **** outta luck, as those Frenchies found out.

      They'd be better off opening an American factory in the south. Those people work hard and appreciate what they get.
      Why not just skip the US South, and go straight to, say India, China or Brazil?

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      02-20-2013 01:11 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      I'm sure it's hyperbole, but again, see my example. He is pretty right in spirit, if not in fact.
      It's not different than any where else in the world... just varying degrees, right?

      The more mature the society gets (given they have a history of being successful economically... by whatever means) the more luxuries they strive for, but at what cost in the face of globalism and civilization overshooting?

      I remember when I worked with some colleagues in France, they'd spew serious hatred for those that milked the system's rules. Humans can suck... be they French or American or Floridians.


      BTW... can you fix me up with company names with such... errr... healthy termination rules?

    27. Member Short Bus's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 01:19 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      True story: I used to run the restructuring (layoff) program from a financial perspective for a large F500 company. One quarter, two people with almost identical stats got laid off. One in America, one in France. Both had the same grade level, same number of years of service, and approximately the same salary. American got $12k as a severance package. Frenchman got over $400k. It was all due to laws, not the kindness of our hearts. And this was a relatively low-level employee, making ~$75k/yr.

    28. Banned justanotherusername's Avatar
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      02-20-2013 01:19 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      - Americans have gotten far too used to getting their free time and breaks whittled down to ****-all.
      Maybe true to an extent, BUT....the world has become a very competitive place. If American has any hope of holding on to its manufacturing base, there has to be some compromise.

      I've worked in a lot of factories, both as unskilled labor, skilled trades, and now in engineering. There are very few places I've worked in or go to that I think the workers have it tough. Modern manufacturing jobs aren't nearly as physically demanding as they used to be, so there's some argument for shorter breaks. The places that do have issues are generally just one OSHA visit away from a fine, management change, and subsequent correction.

      There needs to be some adaptation from job to job that makes sense. A guy who's running a machining center for 10 hours and spends half his time sitting at an inspection station isn't the same as a person who's sorting logs in a lumber mill, but the labor laws apply equally to both.

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      02-20-2013 01:21 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      The more socialized the society gets (given they have a history of being successful economically... by whatever means) the more luxuries they strive for, but at what cost in the face of globalism and civilization overshooting?
      I think that's a more accurate description of the problem.

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      02-20-2013 01:22 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      Yes and no; I respect them religiously protecting their time off, breaks, and 37 hour work week, but their policies regarding severance, maternity leave, firing incompetence, etc, only serve to shoot themselves in the foot. Who wants to hire someone who will be so hard and $$$ to get rid of?
      Totally agree. I know the French quite well. For a large percentage, they do work quite hard and are proud of their work. However, the unemployment is still quite high, not because of a lack of opportunities, but because no one wants to take on more permanent positions that could put the company out of business.

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      02-20-2013 01:27 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbio! View Post
      And yes, I agree - Americans have gotten far too used to getting their free time and breaks whittled down to ****-all.
      In my experience and the industry where I work in, there are labor laws managed by HR that mandate employees take 15 minute breaks every two hours, and an hour long lunch where you're encouraged to leave your desk. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all.
      Go Gators!

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      02-20-2013 01:28 PM #32
      ...and the next Greece is....(drumroll)
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      02-20-2013 01:30 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stack View Post
      Yes and no; I respect them religiously protecting their time off, breaks, and 37 hour work week, but their policies regarding severance, maternity leave, firing incompetence, etc, only serve to shoot themselves in the foot. Who wants to hire someone who will be so hard and $$$ to get rid of?




      I'm sure it's hyperbole, but again, see my example. He is pretty right in spirit, if not in fact.
      Most accurate statement of the thread.

      The CEO's letter was over the top and filled with hyperbole. The problem (generally speaking) with the French is not the hours they work (they are among the most economically productive workers in the world), it is the enormous structural barriers to downsizing or terminating an employee. When the prospect of massive, gut-wrenching severances is on the horizon, businesses will do almost anything not to hire a new full-time employee.
      I TCL.

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      02-20-2013 01:33 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by seminole_kev View Post
      Why not just skip the US South, and go straight to, say India, China or Brazil?
      Certainly an option as well.

      I'm not saying it's right, but those french workers can't really expect to be competitive working at even 125% of what that story reports. In a world like today, working 15 hours a week isn't going to cut it, especially when you're paid for 2.5 times that.
      Quote Originally Posted by J-Tim View Post
      Still fail to see how a jacked up hatchback or wagon is better than the standard height one. Yes, putting the kid may require you to bend down a bit, but if the car is German, you're kind of used to that anyway.

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      02-20-2013 01:36 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by DSG-TDI View Post
      Damn, these guys make the UAW seem like an industrious bunch! 3 hours of work in a day?!?
      It's the modern union way! France or not (and I'm not defending the Frenchies, even though I have their lazy ass blood in me) the unions encourage sloth. There's no accountability. You can't be fired for not doing anything so why bother?

      My father ran into this all the time with the construction unions. He was project manager for a GC who sometimes had to hire union crews for certain job sites. He'd routinely go to the site to check progress to find guys on their 2nd hour of lunch, taking a 45 minute version of the 15 minute coffee break or leaving 30 minutes before "cleanup time" which was 30 minutes before actual clock off time. My dad, being the awesome guy that I love so much, didn't give a shi1t about their rules (why should he? clearly they didn't) and he would give them and their super a regular lashing. Unfortunately they didn't care because they couldn't get fired.

      Lazy, shiftless bastards.
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