Financial News

  • 21 February 2013, 11:10

France's Goodyear Workers 'Too Lazy To Save'

An American tycoon has ruled out the rescue of the Goodyear tyre factory in France because he thinks its workers are "too lazy" to make the business viable.

French minister Arnaud Montebourg had hoped Maurice M Taylor Jr, the president of the American Titan group, would step in to keep the plant in the north of the country going.

But in a letter sent earlier this month to Mr Montebourg, the American said a very emphatic "non".

"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," he wrote.

"Goodyear tried for more than four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid around 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 tyres into France - really all over Europe - and yet you do nothing. The Chinese government subsidises all the tyre companies. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tyres in France.

"Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a dialogue. 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 does not care if the tyres are from China or India and these governments are subsidising them. Your government doesn't care either: "We're French!"

Goodyear announced last month it is to close its main French plant and cut its workforce in the country by almost 40%, as car demand falls and labour disputes increase.

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