PARIS (Reuters) - The CEO of a U.S. tire company 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 lazy socialist Frenchman writes an unaccountably rude response:
Titan International's Maurice "Morry" Taylor, who goes by "The Grizz" for his bear-like no-nonsense style, told France's left-wing 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.
As the leaked letter drew outrage in France, Montebourg penned a scathing response, spelling out the reasons why France routinely ranks as a leading destination for companies to invest, beating China and India in mid-2012.From the hazy mists of the past comes a memory confirming Taylor's nobility:
"Can I remind you that Titan, the business you run, is 20 times smaller than Michelin, the French (tire) technology leader with international influence, and 35 times less profitable," Montebourg wrote, in a two-page letter in French.
"This just shows the extent to which Titan could have learned and gained, enormously, from a presence in France."
He built up Illinois-based Titan over 23 years into a global brand in tires for tractors and other off-road machinery and ran for the White House in the 1996 Republican primary, campaigning on a pro-business ticket.No cheese-eater should think he can impugn the character of a man who ran for president on the Republican ticket.
At that time, he admitted to being "abrasive" in order to "get the job done": "The politicians, they all want you to like them," he told an interviewer. "I don't care if people like me."
To Montebourg, the author of "Kill All the Lawyers and Other Ways to Fix the Government" wrote: "You're a politician so you don't want to rock the boat ... France will lose its industrial business because its government is more government."