Angry French Union Workers Take Two Bosses Hostage

Tyler Durden's picture

Workers at a tire plant in Northern France have taken two managers hostage until Goodyear (the firm that owns the plant and has been trying to shutter it for years) meets the mabor unions demands. WSJ reports, as Goodyear winds down operations with the plant almost idle, French labor law requires the company to keep all workers employed, which means many of them don't work more than a couple of hours a day while still getting full salary. The situation is why Titan International's Maurice Taylor blasted that he "would be stupid" to operate the plant on that basis.


As we noted previosuly the tire factory farce escalated a year ago...

The saga of the capitalist vs the socialist goes on with Round 3, following round 1 in which the "Titan CEO Crushes Socialist "Work Ethic", Tells France "You Can Keep Your So-Called Workers" and round 2 in which "Socialist France Responds To Titan CEO, Hilarity Ensues." With the entire "developed" world now a real-time parody of itself, in which the truth about the true state of affairs is only revealed in grotesque, farcical, ad-hominem repartees between various members of the insolvent status quo plutocracy, we can only hope for many more rounds of this didactic back and forth.

Excerpted from Titan CEO Maurice Taylor's follow up letter in response to Arnaud Montebourg's letter responding to Maurice Taylor.

You letter shows the extent to which your political class is out of touch with real world problems.


You call me an extremist, but most businessmen would agree that I must be nuts to have the idea to spend millions of US dollars to buy a tyre factory in France paying some of the highest wages in the world.


Your letter did not mention why the French government has not stepped in to rescue this Goodyear tyre factory.


The extremist, Mr Minister, is your government and the lack of knowledge about how to build a business.


Your government let the wackos of the communist union destroy the highest paying jobs.


At no time did Titan ask for lower wages; we asked only if you want seven hours pay, you work at least six.


France does have beautiful women and great wine.


PS: My grandmother named my father after French entertainer Maurice Chevalier, and I inherited the name.


I have visited Normandy with my wife. I know what we did for France.


But now, Goodyear is entangled in legal proceedings with unions representing workers, led by the communist-backed CGT... and their actions have re-escalated... (via WSJ)

Workers at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. factory in northern France prevented two managers from leaving the facility on Monday, the latest in a string of protests by union members who were accused by a U.S. executive last year of doing little work.




Mickaël Wamen, a union representative, said the managers would be held until workers get a satisfactory response to their requests. He said the managers already have been informed that they will spend the night at the site.


Goodyear, of Akron, Ohio, has been trying to shut the plant for several years, but is entangled in legal proceedings with unions representing workers, led by the communist-backed CGT. Efforts to sell the factory to U.S. tire maker Titan International Inc. hit the headlines last year, after Titan Chief Executive Maurice Taylor blasted French labor laws and work habits.


As Goodyear winds down operations and the plant almost idle, French labor law requires the company to keep all workers employed, which means many of them don't work more than a couple of hours a day while still getting full salary.


The situation enraged Mr. Taylor, who dropped the first offer he had made for the plant and told France's industry minister that he would be "stupid" to operate in a country where workers get high wages for little work.




Tense labor relations in France were exacerbated by the financial crisis, leading to a string of so-called boss-nappings. In 2009, when industrial companies started retrenching their operations, managers at the French plants of several foreign firms, including Caterpillar Inc., Sony Corp. and 3M Co., were held captive by workers angry at being laid off.

As we warned earlier, this can and will only lead to the triple-dip recession in France as industrial production continues to slump. We strongly urge Detroit's Kevyn Orr to get a bodyguard...

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ghengis86's picture

Awesome.  Now take a few bankers and politicians! 


Roll the guillotines and embrace your heritage!


Edit: sorry, maybe not awesome for the middle managers.  Just got straight to the pols and bankers and slit their throats.

Cult_of_Reason's picture

There are many guillotines waiting for Bernanke's neck.

Temporalist's picture

You are all delusional as France has been in a re-re-re-re-recovery for 5-7 years.  Clearly socialism will win the day (as evidenced by Hollande being President).  When you can hold your boss hostage with no repercussions the upturn in the economy is already here.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

There is no problem liberal is create that socialism is not cure.

DanDaley's picture

Soviet aphorism: We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us.

French aphorism: Why should we even pretend to work? 

malikai's picture


Didn't this exact same thing happen in a few years back when they were flipping and burning cars all over the country?

The Juggernaut's picture

The Revolution begins now!!!!!  All these American companies benefit from central banking anyway... It will be one in the streets because the politicians didn't let it happen in the voting booths.

Analyse2's picture

It is difficult for an American to understand that the Unions don't direct France : they represent only 8% of the workforce (and mostly in administrations and transport).

People aren't forced to buy a union card.

RKDS's picture

I don't know why Goodyear doesn't just run the factory at full capacity.  If they're stupid enough to pay the French workers full pay for an hour's work, that's their problem and not the union's.

dunce's picture

No, the car burners are muslims, not union  members. Note i did not call them union workers.

Analyse2's picture

Maurice Taylor:  "You call me an extremist, but most businessmen would agree that I must be nuts to have the idea to spend millions of US dollars to buy a tyre factory in France paying some of the highest wages in the world."

Just a little flaw: Titan, is 20 times smaller than French tyre producer Michelin … and 35 times less profitable.

… and 4,200 American companies have operations in France that employ 500,000 people ...

Dangertime's picture

The socialist MO all along has come from the terrorist playbook.  Why should this be any surprise?

Sudden Debt's picture

I just saw it on the TV :)
those guys don't want to hang them.



walküre's picture

Dude, money is obviously growing on trees in Europe and Draghi's fancy qe ORGY has set the tone. Why not ask for 2 million?

Sudden Debt's picture

it's the law :)

When ford closed down in belgium they paid 240k euro per person.

A while back I had a argument with my boss and I yelled at him "SO WHY THE FUCK DON'T YOU FIRE ME!!??!!"


! I said.... " HA! I THOUGHT IT WAS 4! THX!

But they just changed the law in Belgium for new workers to make it cheaper to fire somebody.... greedy bastards.

But I'm a senior manager! And that are factory workers for god's sake!

dark pools of soros's picture

so they actually do some work while you post here all day during your mindless meetings?

Sudden Debt's picture

yeah... isn't it great :)

I'm so efficient that I work about 1 hour and spend 7 hours reading whatever google shows me :)

I've read the internet TWICE!

Chaos_Theory's picture

Sounds like there's a nice market niche for an independent contractor in France that will disappear striking workers or arrogant lazy workers/managers for $20K.  Bankers for $1K and two-hours of open bar at the discoteque of my choice. 

Arturo's picture

The big problem the West has is that there are no jobs for all of us. This cannot end well.

Cult_of_Reason's picture

There are no UNION jobs for all of us. There are many low paying jobs in the West nobody wants to do. It is easier to collect welfare, food stamps, and unemployment benefits than to work.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Or be a lazy union fuck leeching off of the people that REALLY work.  Unions had their day and served their purpose.  Now they are nothing more than groups of fat lazy fucking idiots with asscrack hanging out of their pants seeing how slowly they can work.  Its ESPECIALLY rampant in GOVERNMENT!  You are just parasites on the other end of the spectrum.  Unions...........................people that really work...................Warren Buffet (et al).

Soul Glow's picture

These unions are kicking ass.  You must be reading the wrong article.  And don't confuse government unions with the idea and practice of a union.

Are you married?  You formed a union with someone because a team of two is often more viable than an individual.

Do you have friends?  You formed that friend group in large part so other people won't fuck with you when you go out drinking and such.  It is natural to form a union.  Don't go thinking "unions are bad" just because the government is fucked up.

zaphod's picture

In the 1700s France was the leading economic power in europe (and the world). It had the world's reserve currency and international language.

Now look at France, she has been utterly useless for over a century.

France is the furture for the United States.

Temporalist's picture

"France is the furture for the United States."

Haha that's funny considering the US has to be Japan before it can be France.


Besides the genius congresscritters in DC banned french fries for Freedom Fries just because they could (flexing their political muscles).  That oughta teach them Frenchies.

Uncle Remus's picture

Did I miss France's "Japan" phase?

Freddie's picture

Could you imagine if you had a choice between opening a factory in France or Detroit.  I say France would win hands down.

malikai's picture

I wouldn't be opening a factory given those choices.

RKDS's picture

Because if you can't take in billions off of other peoples' backs, it isn't worth doing?

And they say the unemployed have unrealistic expectations...

Serenity Now's picture

Geez, talk about being between a rock and a hard place.  

Soul Glow's picture

What Nation-State isn't useless?  They have all been taken over by fascist governemnts that employ the Hegelian dialectic to confuse the "ration cosumers" of said States.  The "rational consumer theory" is one of the Neo-Keynsian theories that today's economics is built on, by the way.

tony wilson's picture

ignorant fool you give us a history lesson and zero mention of are fine cheese

brettd's picture

Union Jobs?

You ask this on ZH?

Learn how to code, dude.

You'll have a job paying more than 20/HR

And you won't need a union!

mick_richfield's picture
union my_union
 long silver;

 double down
char zh_comment[76];

RKDS's picture

My C's a little rusty but I don't think that's valid.

trader1's picture




you forgot to mention two important items marking france's decline as a superpower:

  1. the country went bankrupt financing the american revolution, helping bring about its own revolution.
  2. napoleon thought it was a brilliant idea to fight the russians on their home turf.


LetsGetPhysical's picture

WTF are you talking about? Have you ever actually worked in union? I have, for 20+ years (carpenters). I eventually had to leave cause of the utter BS. A "union" is PRIVATELY run business who makes money by taking it from your paycheck. They generally don't do shit for you. If these lazy POS want keep their jobs... Here's an idea.... Show up and put in 8 hours of actual work in. Do you think this stunt is going to help?

Soul Glow's picture

Too bad you belong to some crappy ass union.  And no I don't want to show up at some crappy ass job and work 8 hours a day.

I am defending the idea of unions, not how they are implemented.  People are pretty much retarded and I am not going to blame the idea and concept of a union on how people implement them.

Once again, do you have friends?  Because that is a form of union.'s picture

I don't recall being forced to pay for friends I don't want.

PartofOne's picture

Seems like you've stumbled upon the universal truth; give and take, male and female, right and wrong, employee and employer - the universal law of intercourse.  

However, the only union I'm thinking of right now is the union of man and jerry-curl juice!

Let your Soul Glo!

A Nanny Moose's picture

You read my mind on Coming to Amerika.


nope-1004's picture

"Unions had their day and served their purpose."


Ya, they pushed up input costs to the point where costs of goods and services, taxes, and dues strip everyone bone dry.  Then business collapses, or moves to China.  Problem is unions don't have a reasonable upper limit and don't have a greed checking mechanism in place, like an obese person that never stops eating, until coronary failure and finally heart attack and collapse.

Coronary has been going on for years, economic heart attack in progress, with collapse near.

Or is Detroit just a fluke?


Soul Glow's picture

You shouldn't bame NAFTA on unions.  If it wasn't for NAFTA, GATA, the WTO, etc unions could have continued to bargain.

nope-1004's picture

Dude, I don't blame NAFTA on unions.  NAFTA was a direct result OF unions and a way the oligarchs bypassed labor laws to move jerbs to China and bypass union laws altogether.


Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Yep. You guys want above market pay, unrealistic pensions, while doing slow and subpar work, while giving us no way to fire you, then we will just move out production to another country. So the unions migrated to govt jobs, where it was thought there would be an endless supply of taxpayers to fund those pensions, who would always be willing and able to pay more and more in taxes. Meanwhile, as a result of NAFTA, and other factors, that pool of actual taxpayers began to shrink, leading us to where we are today in a self perpetuating cycle

ebworthen's picture

Look, I understand the sentiment but peek at Wall Street and the Banks and Fidelity and TIAA-CREF and Fannie/Freddie and AIG, etc., etc., etc. 

They are the biggest fucking Union in all of human history.

Throw in the ECB, the FED, and all the other Central Banks and you have Trillion$ more of gravy than Unions could ever conceive of stealing from the average Joe/Jane.

The whole fucking thing needs to be torn down; sound money, lending, and the rule-of-law returned.

To get in a pissing match over labor unions is to split hairs on a dead sow.

I'm hungry, let's all us regular folks make some bacon and chops.

walküre's picture

Fuckhead, there are no jobs. There's plenty work on the plantation for slaves but there are no jobs. Go fuck off.