The head of U.S. based tire maker Titan has mocked French workers for working only "three hours" a day and said he would be "stupid" to take over a French factory.
The letter from Titan CEO Maurice Taylor to French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg found its way to French business daily Les Echos.
The letter was in response to a request for Titan to consider investing in a plant that is about to close in northern France. Goodyear is reportedly walking away from the plant because of years of failed talks with union workers.
In the letter, Taylor said he had visited the plant.
Paid high wages but works only three hours.
In the letter he stated: "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. 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!"
It goes on to say: "You are a politician so you don't want to rock the boat. The Chinese are shipping tires into France - really all over Europe - and yet you do nothing. The Chinese government subsidizes all the tire companies. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tires in France. France will lose its industrial business because its government is more government."
How stupid do you think we are?
The letter goes on: "Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are?"
Finally, he writes: "Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory."
The French have responded with outrage. One response was the Taylor was "crazy" and should be in an insane asylum.
Titan manufactures tires under the Titan and Goodyear brands.