French workers get a reality check

At least the French government can rest assured that Titan International’s Maurice “Morry” Taylor won’t be buying the tyre plant in France after this letter.

Titan International’s Maurice “Morry” Taylor, who goes by “The Grizz” for his bear-like no-nonsense style, told the left-wing French industry minister in a letter published by Paris media that he had no interest in buying a doomed plant.

“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 addressed 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 on Wednesday and which the ministry confirmed was genuine…

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’s comments were “insulting” and based on a visit to a plant already on short-time working. Taylor belonged more “in an asylum”, he said, than in the boardroom of a multinational.