Wednesday I published a letter written by American tire CEO Maurice “The Grizz” Taylor to a French government official. Taylor’s letter, which was leaked to a newspaper, was a blunt assessment of the French work ethic. Among other things, he wrote, “The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours.”
Arnaud Montebourg, the French minister to whom Taylor’s letter was directed, responded with his own letter. Montebourg called Taylor an “extremist” and closed with “Be assured that you can count on me to inspect your tire imports with a redoubled zeal.”
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 tire factory
in France paying some of the highest wages in the world.
At no time did Titan ask for lower wages; we asked only if you want seven
hours pay, you work at least six.
Your letter did not mention why the French government has not stepped in to
rescue this Goodyear tire factory.
Your government let the wackos of the communist union destroy the highest
Why is unemployment so high in France, especially among young people? This is due to the policy of your government, sir.
Taylor closed his letter with a couple of personal asides including “France has really beautiful women and fantastic wine. I do not know what your politicians are worth but I’m not the right person to cross swords with. Your team ought to have seen through research on the internet.” He also mentioned a visit he and his wife had made to Normandy saying, “I know what we did for France.“
In a story which may be related to this, France is going to miss the debt-cutting targets set by the EU this year and will likely miss them next year as well. Also today, the European Commission downgraded its expectations for the French economy in 2013 to just 0.1% growth.