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Titan CEO Crushes Socialist "Work Ethic", Tells France "You Can Keep Your So-Called Workers"

February 20, 2013
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Source: Zero Hedge

Update: FRANCE'S MONTEBOURG TELLS TAYLOR REMARKS `IGNORANT, INSULTING' - And now we know Taylor was spot on.

The French industry minister is not amused. The CEO of US tire-maker Titan International has explained to the French unions (who think he belongs in an asylum) why his company is not interested in any deal - noting "you can keep your so-called workers," adding that he would have to be stupid to take over a factory whose staff only put in three hours work a day. Maurice 'Grizz' Taylor went 'postal' at the suggestion his company invest in France: "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." His truth-filled reality letter concluded: How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government." The flustered Frenchman refrained from immediate reply but gallicly noted, "Don’t worry, there will be a response; it's better written down." Indeed, just as long as its not the labor minister.

Via The Globe And Mail,

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.

...

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 Feb. 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.

...

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.

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.

...

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.

 

...

 

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.”

And for purity's sake, here is the full letter itself (highlights ours):

February 8, 2013

Mr. Arnaud Montebourg
Ministere Du Redressement
Productif
139 rue de Bercy
Teledoc 136
75572 Paris cedes 12

Dear Mr. Montebourg:

I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business; therefore, my apologies for not answering your letter dated 31 January 2013.

I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting industrial activities and jobs in France. I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk.

I have visited that factory a couple of times. 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. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!

You are a politician so you don't want to rock the boat. The Chinese are shipping tires into France — really all over Europe — and yet you do nothing. The Chinese government subsidizes all the tire companies. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tires in France. France will lose its industrial business because its government is more government.

Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tires. He does not care if the tires are from China or India and these governments are subsidizing them. Your government doesn't care either: "We're French!"

The U.S. government is not much better than the French. Titan had to pay millions to Washington lawyers to sue the Chinese tire companies because of their subsidizing. Titan won. The government collects the duties. We don't get the duties, the government does.

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. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory.

Best regards,
Maurice M. Taylor, Jr
Chairman and CEO



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