US tyre boss mocks French work ethic

Morry Taylor Maurice Taylor is nicknamed "the Grizz" for his bear-like no-nonsense style

Related Stories

The boss of US tyremaker Titan has caused an uproar in France after saying that French workers only put in three hours a day and he would have to be "stupid" to invest in the country.

Maurice Taylor made the claims in a letter to France's minister for industrial recovery, Arnaud Montebourg.

He was replying to a request for Titan to consider investing in a loss-making Goodyear plant in Amiens, north France.

The CGT union said the letter was "insulting".

'The French way'

"I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but only works three hours," Mr Taylor said in the letter, dated 8 February, and published by French business daily Les Echos on Wednesday.

"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!"

At one point he asked, "How stupid do you think we are?"

Mr Montebourg refused to comment on the letter but told French journalists: "Don't worry, there will be a response."

He said he would reply to Mr Taylor in writing.

Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the letter did not reflect broader US views of investing in France.

"I would remind Mr Taylor that France remains the largest recipient of US investment in Europe and there are probably very good reasons for this," she said.

Mickael Wamen, the CGT union's representative at the Goodyear plant was more forthright. He said the letter showed Mr Taylor, "belongs more in an insane asylum than at the head of a multinational corporation".

Mr Taylor, nicknamed "the Grizz" for his bear-like no-nonsense style, made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in the 1996 US presidential election, campaigning on a pro-business ticket.

France has a 35-hour statutory working week, brought in by the Socialist Party in 2000, but critics say it is now stifling economic growth.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories


Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India

Elsewhere on the BBC


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.