France Requires Goodyear To Keep a Money-Losing Factory Open


Reason 24/7

Do you remember when French government officials approached Titan Tires in an attempt to convince the U.S. firm to purchase an ailing Goodyear factory in Amiens, and the company's CEO, Maurice Taylor, replied with a broadside about the French "work" ethic that sparked a miniature international incident? Yeah. Good times. Well, that factory is still operating, much to Goodyear's chagrin and despite the company's strongly voiced intentions to close the place. Rebuffed in its efforts to restructure the money-hemorrhaging plant by a seemingly crazed union, the Confederation Generale du Travail, which severed its formal links with the Communist Party only in the 1990s, Goodyear attempted to shutter the facility, and then ran into France's peculiar laws that seem to require employers to operate at a loss until given permission to expire with some residual degree of dignity.

From BBC:

For years tyre giant Goodyear has been trying to stem losses at a plant in northern France, but has failed to persuade unions to agree to its plans. Now it wants to close the factory, and the battle has moved to the courts. How much longer can the struggle continue? …

From the company's point of view the struggle looks very different. The factory is losing $80m a year, it says, and producing goods there is no market for.

The battle began back in 2007, when Goodyear announced plans to stop making cheap car tyres at the plant and focus on tyres for tractors and other farm vehicles.

Restructuring was urgently needed, it said. Along with new investment, it wanted to introduce a new shift pattern called quatre huits or four times eight, with four teams working eight-hour shifts.

Overall, employees would still have a 35-hour week—in accordance with French law—but they would work rotating six-day and four-day cycles, including nights and weekends.

Unions refused. The next year they went to court to prevent the company laying off 400 staff, and won. Last year they helped scuttle Goodyear's plan to sell the factory to Titan, an agricultural tyre producer, in a deal that would have seen many more job losses (including voluntary redundancies).

It was in January that Goodyear finally announced its decision to close the factory, describing this as "the only possible option after five years of fruitless discussion". Cue another legal battle.

"French law says if you want to put all these workers on the dole, you have to have a good reason," says Fiodor Rilov, the CGT union's lawyer. "This may be an American company, with a headquarters in the US but they are operating on French soil and they have to respect our social rules."

The situation is amusingly French (if you're not a Goodyear stockholder). But it thoroughly explains Maurice Taylor's explosive, "How stupid do you think we are?" when asked if he'd be interested in purchasing the Amiens facility. Such vampiric regulations, wielded by an insane labor union, represent a strong disincentive to investing in any project in France that might involve unionized labor, semi-permanent structures, and an inability to electronically transfer all assets across the border to someplace a bit more sane.

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  1. C’est comme d’habitude.

    1. Wee wee.

      1. Just went. Thanks.

        1. my co-worker’s step-aunt makes $76 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for six months but last month her pay check was $21126 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site….

          1. maybe that’s what those french unions are doing

  2. Were I Goodyear, I’d just padlock the gate one Sunday night. “D?sol?, messieurs, le bureau de la Dole est dans le centre de la ville.”

    1. Give the factory to the workers and tell them to run it themselves as their own company.

      1. Hell,just go Baltimore Colts on their asses. “Zee factory equipment, it was here yesterday…” Do the Frogs have the equivalent of Mayflower?

        1. Sort of. Two guys show up, one is the worker, the other is a labor lawyer who explains what details in your plan to hire him are illegal, and why your new plan to call the whole thing off is also illegal.

  3. The NLRB has authority in France? Who knew.

  4. I’m guessing the leverage here is the ability to sell Goodyear products in France.
    Goodyear can decide if that’s worthwhile. I don’t care, but then I can’t remember buying a Goodyear product.

    1. I purchased Goodyear tires back in the 1970s. After about that time their products disappeared from the markets. At least those available to myself.

    2. Just stop caring about that market. Stop supplying this plant and any other facilities with resources and let them wither on the vine.

      Of course they are being sued in the US as well and they might catch a bad judge here who will find some way to punish them for their actions in La France.

      1. That’s not the crony capitalist way.

        Instead, they’ll negotiate some level of monopoly that will allow them to overcharge French consumers and earn 10 times any amount lost by that plant.

        1. VG Zaytsev| 7.4.13 @ 10:10PM |#
          “That’s not the crony capitalist way.”

          Pretty sure this is the issue. No large company exists in France absent some sort of vigorish.
          So the French excuse for a government is trading on that to transfer taxpayer money through Goodyear to the worthless ’employees’.
          Think Tesla; now you’re getting close.

          1. Yep, and the losers are French consumers (and workers, though less obviously so), not Goodyear or its investors.

      2. “I sold it to some guy offering cash. Look, I’ve got the contract right here… I think he was wearing a monocal.

        1. Imposter!

          Every real libertarian knows how to spell monocle

          1. Yeah, I caught on the other day when he kept going on about his “Tope Hat”

            1. Doesn’t everybody have a taupe hat?

              1. Do they come with complimentary hot girls? If so I’ll take a dozen.

  5. Wow.

    Hey Steve Chapman, grab a cold one, lean back and have a read.…..ic-growth/

    Our president is an absolute genius, the smartest man to ever live. Why his IQ is..well, it is just off of the scale. Yet somehow he subscribes to a political philosophy that is dumber than chewing rocks.

    1. That article quotes a piece from Business Insider. I ended up looking at the comments at BI, and found a hilarious one.Someone had basically endorsed free market reforms and a less socialistic economy, and this is the response he got:

      wrong again genius on Jun 22, 9:39 AM said:
      @john d.: The Legatum Prosperity Index ( Google it ) shows that the most prosperous countries in the world have a much more socialist economic system than the US which came in at 13 th place.

      But I suppose I’m not playing fair in my debate with you since I’m relying on facts and backing myself up with proof that anyone can check out. If I wanted to be fair I would be spouting failed talking points from hate radio that are BACKED UP BY NOTHING BUT BLIND FAITH.

      What a moron. Here is the Legatum Index. Tell me what you see there.

      1. Yep, dumber than chewing rocks.

      2. I notice that all the countries ahead of the United States have super small populations consisting almost entirely of well educated white people. The U.S. is the first country to show up on the list with a population over 34 million, and is also the first country to show up which has large minority populations.

        This tells me that it is possible to be relatively socialist and be prosperous provided you have a homogeneous country with virtually no low-income immigration, but if you plan on having a multi-cultural society with a large population, you have no hope unless you’re a free market.

        Of course, several of the countries on the list ahead of the U.S. (like Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand) actually have more free market economies than the U.S., so even the argument that socialism results in growth is belied by his own citation.

        1. It also tells me,

          2012 – #12
          2011 – #10
          2010 – #10
          2009 – #09
          2008 – #06

          Our gentile slide towards “socialism” just might not be working out….

        2. I went ahead and looked at the Economic Freedom Index; almost every single country ahead of the United States (and the U.S. as well) are in the top 20 economically freest countries in the world, all with scores in the 70s and above. So even at “best”, it’s not very true that the countries ahead of the U.S. are more socialistic, with all of them having scoring higher or being 5 points or less behind.

          The only outlier is Norway, which comes in at 31st, but still with a score in the 70s. France, on the other hand? 62nd, with a score of 64.1. France is 8 places behind the U.S. and is much more socialistic than any of the countries ahead of us. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for more socialism.

          1. *France is 8 places behind the U.S. (on the Legatum Index)

          2. The only four countries in the top 20 of the Heritage list that aren’t in the top 20 of the LPI are all countries that were historically poor (Chile, Mauritius, Bahrain, Estonia) but have become much wealthier since adopting free markets in recent years. And if you look at the four countries that replaced them, three of them are near the bottom of the top 20 of the LPI, two of them are still in the top 25 of Heritage list, and the others are 31 and 40 (so still relatively free)

          3. And Norway can pay for it’s economic stupidity because of it’s huge oil wealth.

        3. Even Canada has an overall freer economy, according to both Heritage and the Fraser Institute

        4. It’s also worth pointing out that none of those countries became prosperous through socialism. They became wealthy and prosperous, then became socialist, and have prospered since as a result of still allowing a relatively free economy and not going full socialist like North Korea, Cuba, USSR, Venezuela, and various other third world basket cases. Even Sweden, the shining pillar of socialism to the left, had one of the freest economies in the world during the late 1800s through the mid 1900s (and even today they’re still top 20 in Heritage’s list). By the time they became the mega welfare state they’re known for being today, they were already one of the richest countries in the world.

          1. Digging into the sub-categories even deeper, the US does very well in categories with concrete measures rather than surveys about how “confident” citizens are of their country’s progress on various indicators. (This is especially true in the case of “Health”, where the US is #2 on the list.) The only issue where this is not the case is “Safety and Security”.

            1. Amusingly, the categories where the US breaks into the top ten are those which proggies are most likely to bitch about — Education (#5), Health (#2), and Social Capital (#10).

              Not bad for a bunch of dog-eat-dog capitalists.

      3. Have to go down to #17 to find a non-Western country.

        So it’s socialism not a long history of common law and property rights?

        1. Belgium isn’t Western? I assume you were talking about 18, Hong Kong (followed by Singapore at 19)? And yeah, both of those places are among the most free economies in the world (arguably the two most free)

          1. But does Belgium really exist?

            1. Good point, isn’t it part of the Netherlands?

              (If any Belgians are reading this, I kid, I kid)

            2. Warrren| 7.4.13 @ 10:03PM |#
              “But does Belgium really exist?”
              You bet! The Walloons swear it exists as a part of France, while the Flemish swear it’s part of Holland!
              So, yes, Belgium exists twice!

              1. Belgium is a strange country. It’s very small, yet it’s still like five countries in one.

            3. These waffles are a lie!

          2. Both HK and Singapore have a long tradition of common law, and both maintain common law courts as their primary source of law.

            For all intents and purposes, both are “western” countries.

      4. “Here is the Legatum Index”

        I’m not going to bother, since I spent months pointing out that the UN medical care index (which placed the US behind Cuba) was driven by questions regarding whether a country ‘gave away medical care for free’ (their claim). Since the US didn’t, it was obvious that Cuba was ‘way better.
        So, no, I’m tired of getting pissed at more loaded ‘indexes’.

        1. The Index isn’t actually that bad. It doesn’t at all prove what the person who brought it up thought it does

          *And yes, I realize that all indexes, especially when it’s for things that aren’t easily and objectively calculated, are flawed, but in this case, it’s not so much the index as the person’s flawed interpretation of it

          1. “it’s not so much the index as the person’s flawed interpretation of it”

            Are you suggesting it’s worth the time to read it? No sarc, just asking.

            1. It’s a mixed bag. I would say that it’s a more honest attempt to categorize such things than the various UN measures.

      5. This is something that people constantly mix up. Having a strong welfare state is a different axis than economic freedom. Denmark has both for example. Plenty of countries have the welfare state without economic freedom and their economies suck ass because of it.

        The total tax burden for the US isn’t particularly low, especially for the return to its citizens. IOW, it’s terribly inefficient. Scandanavian countries do much better with this, which helps to offset their socialist policies.

        1. Few people realize that the regulatory burden in the US is actually much worse than it is in most European countries because of the fractured nature of our system of governments with overlapping jurisdictions. Most European countries have two levels – national and municipal usually with distinct jurisdicitons. In the US, we have Federal, State, County, Municipal and various special districts all with overlapping and redundant jurisdiction.

          So that the economic burden on the private sector per unit of government spending is higher in the US than Europe.

    2. Suthenboy| 7.4.13 @ 8:38PM |#
      Hey Steve Chapman, grab a cold one, lean back and have a read.”

      And David Freidman very carefully, and accurately rips him a new one in the Carbon Tax thread.

      1. Thanks. I had stopped looking at the Chapman thread. It’s a real pleasure seeing Friedman argue.

        1. Heh. His second post is almost word-for-word identical to what he said about global warming at the IHS seminar.

          1. Maybe ’cause there’s no reason to change the comments.

        2. David Friedman is an intellectual tour de force — not quite on the level of his father, but still quite good.

          1. He apparently knows lots of subjects, and if he doesn’t know it he won’t offer an opinion on it. The man has few limits on his knowledge but he knows them well.

      2. I love that American is on the side of the warming hysterics in that thread.

        Whether it’s the belief that global warming will end life on Earth or a continued positive opinion about eugenics, American has never met a pseudoscience that he didn’t wholeheartedly endorse.

        1. It’s how his Chakras are aligned.

        2. I think American is basically the definition of a National Socialist

        3. Genetic counseling is eugenics. Nothing wrong with eugenics, and I suspect very few people actually think there is. They just think it’s something it’s not.

          1. The way it has been practiced and the way people like American propose it to be practiced, yes, there is something wrong with it

    1. The lion may lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.
      (Woody Allen?)
      Sorry, sweet mud momma doesn’t care how sympathetic you are; quick sand eats you anyhow.

      1. Had a brief discussion about the insanity so prevalent in Britain these days with regards to greenyism. Though she is Canadian, this is a prime example.

        “The lion was being ‘very, very friendly’ when the incident began, the Canadian said.”

        No, she misinterpreted the lion’s behavior as friendly. Lions are not fuzzy, four legged people.

        “When the lion attacked, she screamed for help, claiming: ‘It didn’t feel real.'”

        It did not feel real because firm contact with reality is something she is unfamiliar with.

        “Ms Fagen said she felt a ‘deep connection’ to wild animals, …”

        If you think your feelings trump reality, you are in for a nasty surprise.

        1. “Ms Fagen said she felt a ‘deep connection’ to wild animals, …”
          And that particular wild animal felt a ‘deep connection’ with her; she’s fortunate it wasn’t just a bit deeper, the idiot.

          1. Maybe she shouldn’t have tried to lick a big pussy in public.

            1. That’s good advice for most all of us, isn’t it?

        2. The lion was being ‘very, very friendly’

          Meaning it was sitting very still, watching her intently, and not being loud or aggressive, which she interpreted as acting friendly. Because that’s what predators do, they scare off their prey before they attack.

    2. Best comment on the Lion-kissing story:

      John Bickford ? T
      Oh my god! Is the lion OK?

    3. A Lannister always pays his debts.

  6. Why would anyone try to start or expand a business into France?

    1. In this case it just seems like they’re trying to cope with the current situation, rather than expanding. Good luck to them, but if they were smart they’d pull out as soon as they can.

      1. They will. Either that or wither and die. In either case the factory will close and everyone currently working there will be unemployed.

        Socialists cant wish that away.

        1. You just can’t explain that!

          1. “Monetary burden goes up, businesses leave. You can’t explain that!

  7. Replacing all but creative workers with robots cannot happen soon enough.

  8. But Goodyear will still have to pay their fair share, right?

  9. Breaking: MA cops illegally raid man’s home, take away his fiance’s guns and LTC permit because he refused an illegal inspection.

    A lot of the story unfolds in the comments; the blogger was on the phone with the guy’s wife and he popped in to elaborate further.


    1. *one the phone with his fiance*

      1. “Fianc?e”, unless it was a gay marriage.

        (SLD about there being nothing wrong with homosexuality and that the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage anyhow.)

        1. “Fianc?e”


          1. Shit, nevermind. Anyway, fuck the spelling.

            1. I really don’t want to fuck Tori Spelling.

            2. Ah, but the change in spelling makes all the difference. Would you really want to be called a fianc?e? 🙂

    2. Cops engender hate. It’s only a matter of time that there is a reaction that they will not be able to control.

    3. I’d heard TJIC had been fighting legal battles for several years now, but I wasn’t aware part of it had been (partially) resolved.

      1. I wasn’t either. Apparently he’s kept quiet about the process. Looks like this is the last straw though; according to the comments he’s getting the fuck out of MA.

        1. Yeah, but that could still be a couple of years. He at least has to get his guns back before he leaves.

  10. “France Requires Goodyear To Keep a Money-Losing Factory Open”

    As bad as that is, I think it’s a little bit better than nationalizing it–like Barack Obama did with GM.

    1. I’d argue it’s worse. If the GaulComs nationalized it the owners could walk away. This way they’re stuck.

      1. Yeah, but when Obama nationalized GM, he stuck ME with the bill.

        That’s worse than sticking the owners of Goodyear with the bill. When the owners of Goodyear bought their stock, to some extent, they assumed the risk that the government of France might go full retard.

        GM wasn’t like that. Obama used my future paychecks to nationalize GM, and I never had any say in the matter at all. I never bought GM stock. I never willingly assumed any risk. I just woke up one morning, and I was personally, financially responsible for keeping the UAW as fully employed as possible–because Obama said so.

        I think that’s worse!

        We have to come to terms as a nation with the realization that the stuff we used to laugh at other countries for–and I’m talking about everything from Canada’s healthcare system to France’s weird brand of regulation–we just can’t laugh at them the way we used to anymore. …’cause in a lot of ways, Obama’s made things worse than they are in those other countries!

        1. We have to come to terms as a nation with the realization that the stuff we used to laugh at other countries for–

          I can remember when Americans laughed at the Soviets having secret laws and secret courts that could be used to send any russian to prison for simply pissing off the wrong bureaucrat.

          Those were the days!

          1. And Americans have replaced the Soviet’s fear of a midnight knock on their door with a late night bullets flying ‘dynamic’ entry.

  11. Iceland lawmakers discuss citizenship for Snowden. Unfortunately it seems to be getting only a small amount of support.

    1. I wonder if Obama already has his speechwriters working on what he’s gonna say if Snowden offs himself.

      God forbid, but Putin isn’t gonna tolerate him sitting in that airport forever. At some point, he’s gonna put Snowden on a plane back to the U.S. if he can’t find anything else.

      And at that point? I’d be seriously thinking about whether I want to spend the rest of my life in jail. ’cause Obama wants to clean Snowden’s clock.

  12. WIN

    Dale Irby, 63, accidentally wore the same brown v-necked tank top and big-collared disco shirt for two consecutive school photos, then continued the joke by wearing the outfit every year for 40 years. Photographs: Dallas Morning News/

    1. Dale Irby can’t be stopped.

  13. But what is it that Goodyear makes? What the fuck is a tyre?

    1. A tyre is what you wear.

  14. Dude makes a lot of sense man.

  15. As I recall, one of Standard Oil’s response to a nationalization edict was to remove all American employee from the country. Remove all of the equipment they can ship out, and dynamite the oil field.

    Goodyear probably can’t dynamite the place, but they could pull a Ralphie and burn down the plant and collect on the insurance.

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