US tycoon rails against ‘stupid’ French unions: ‘France should just become Communist’
A US tire tycoon on Friday ridiculed French laws and trade unions that he said had prevented him from investing in a stricken factory, saying France should become “Communist.”
Maurice Taylor, chief executive of Titan International, had initially expressed interest in taking over the loss-making Goodyear tire plant in Amiens, northern France.
But he pulled out of the deal and explained why to France Info radio.
“You can’t buy Goodyear. Under your law, we have to take a minimum of 662 or 672 employees. You can’t do that. The most you could take is 333 … there’s no business for that plant now,” said Taylor.
“I tried to tell them all that before but you guys have got to wake up over there and tell the unions, ‘Hey if they’re so smart, they should buy the factory’.
“It’s stupid. It’s the dumbest thing in the world. France should just become Communist and then when it goes all bad like Russia did, then maybe you’d have a chance,” added Taylor.
Goodyear announced in January last year that it was closing the factory, which employs 1,173 people, after years of negotiations with unions failed to come up with a solution to save jobs.
Unions launched a series of legal proceedings against the company, but to no avail.
Taylor, known as “The Grizz” for his tough talk, has made waves before for his comments on France.
In 2013, he wrote a letter to the French industrial renewal minister calling French workers lazy and overpaid after years of negotiations by Titan to take over the plant had failed.
“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!” wrote Taylor.
The minister at the time, Arnaud Montebourg, hit back, telling Taylor: “Your extremist insults display a perfect ignorance of what our country is about.”
“Be assured that you can count on me to inspect your tire imports with a redoubled zeal,” he added.
The closure of the Amiens plant has aroused passionate debate, culminating in January when workers held two executives hostage for 30 hours in a case of so-called “bossnapping.”