(p. B1) PARIS — “How stupid do you think we are?”
With those choice words, and several more similar in tone, the chief executive of an American tire company touched off a furor in France on Wednesday as he responded to a government plea to take over a Goodyear factory slated for closing in northern France.
“I have visited the factory a couple of times,” Maurice Taylor Jr., the head of Titan International, wrote to the country’s industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, in a letter published in French newspapers on Wednesday.
“The French work force gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They have one hour for their breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.”
“I told this to the French unions to their faces and they told me, ‘That’s the French way!’ “
For the full story, see:
LIZ ALDERMAN. “Quel Brouhaha! A Diatribe on Unions Irks the French.” The New York Times (Thurs., February 21, 2013): B1 & B6.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date February 20, 2013.)
For a similar account, see:
GABRIELE PARUSSINI. “U.S. CEO to France: “How Stupid Do You Think We Are?” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., February 21, 2013): B1.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date February 20, 2013, and has the title “U.S. CEO Blasts French Work Habits.”)