What on earth is wrong with the French?

Mar 29th, 2006, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 97
From Powerline - sums it up

The students seem to find romance in taking to the streets, but, as many observers have noted, it's a bit odd to be demonstrating in favor of a sclerotic status quo:

Protesters in Paris said they wanted to defend the status quo.

"We are here for our children. We are very worried about what will happen to them," said Philippe Decrulle, an Air France flight attendant. "My son is 23, and he has no job. That is normal in France."

Left unexplained is why the students, and others, are so anxious to defend a status quo in which it is "normal" to have no job.
GalavantingReprobate is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 380
"Thanks clairobscur. I have no idea the work ethic of French young adults, but if the ones we have with us are any indication, I think I'd want to be able to release them during a probationary period"

There is a probationnary period (at leats if your employer thought about mentionning in your contract, which he'll in all likehood do) . Lasting for some weeks to 6 months, depending on the job level (shorter for less qualified workers, longer for more qualified workers, generally).

It's not defined by statute, but generally by collecive agreements within a brach, like say restaurants and hotel industry, or steel industry. lacking such an agrement it's defined by the contract you signed. I believe it can't be longer than 6 months.
clairobscur is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
"...the number of unemployed includes anyone over 16 who is not employed, available for work and has looked for a job in the preceding month."

In other words, after the month has expired, the person is no longer designated "unemployed" and is no longer included in the statistic.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 117
Per the US Bureau of Labor Stats

'Employed persons consist of:
* All persons who did any work for pay or profit during the survey reference week.
* All persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-operated enterprise.
* All persons who were temporarily absent from their regular jobs because of illness, vacation, bad weather, industrial dispute, or various personal reasons.

Unemployed persons are:
* All persons who were not classified as employed during the survey reference week, made specific active efforts to find a job during the prior 4 weeks, and were available for work.
* All persons who were not working and were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off.
cadillac1234 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,320
>In other words, after the month has expired, the person is no longer designated "unemployed" and is no longer included in the statistic.<

Ummmmm, Robe,

The survey of 60,000 households is conducted every month.

ira is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,253
I appreciate all the personal opinions everyone, and your OP first posting/explanation too, kerouac. The thread well reflects the many various opinions about this issue both inside and outside of France. But the central issue is really much wider than these new laws. You just can't have that much percentage of the entire population being employed by the government. It's the first troubling brick at the base of the French economy pyramid. Economically speaking, under most enterprise system, it is just not feasible.

Before jsmith posted, I had started to type a post and then got called away. When I came back I was floored at his/her exact same comparison to mine. GM in the US- which very soon all US citizens who pay federal income taxes will end up picking up the tab for in their retirees' benefits plan, as the government will have to take it over as it really did with United and other in/out of trouble venues.

And we all know what happened to the products as well.

However they proceed to do it, I sure hope France can open up REAL jobs for their own youth. These jobs will not come from the government sector. They will need to be garnered by real economic growth- new business. Until they loosen for that, the outcome will be dire regardless. It's in the numbers.
JJ5 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:02 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,591
The editorial in my Belgian newspaper this morning also said that those demonstrating against the proposals did not want to address the unemployment issues, and wanted to keep the status quo.

As for the French work ethic, we have been doing some work on an apartment on France, and even French people complain about French workers. They will not work a minute longer than their official hours, expect a long lunch break, during which they drink wine, and then fall off their ladder when they return to the building site. They would much rather employ Polish builders, which is exactly what will happen if the labour markets open up to the new European Union members. I don't think that keeping the status quo is an option anymore.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,178
I love traveling to France and the French language & culture.

BUT this situation is humiliating. It's no wonder France has such a pathetic economy and GDP. Heaven forbid someone have to actually work for a living.

If you're a whiny defender of this embarrassment, check out how impossible it is for an employer to actually terminate an incompetent employee. From the New York Times:

Gekko is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,686
Gee, reading that article was a complete waste of time. Is this the sort of article to which you look for facts when the journalist doesn't even know how to write "licenciement"? (or was it the incompetent typesetter who should be fired?).
People who believe this sort of crap have every reason to believe that France is pathetic.

Oh, and what is so wrong with the economy and GDP? As the 4th or 5th economy in the world with a population of only 60 million, I don't think there is any point in disparaging the economics with no attached facts about it.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,253
Gekko, it was the same at GM near Chicago- exactly. We had the exact same issue. Some real nick-names for long term "workers", "Fireproof", "Napback", "Colaroach". Long, long term process and still no fire- Union protected. But they could get suspended, WITH pay.
JJ5 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 251
I recall that the Japanese policy of essentially guaranted lifetime employment is called the "Iron Rice Bowl." Is there an equivalent phrase in French for what the similar arrangement the workers there currently enjoy? (False answers encouraged!)
laughingd2 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:25 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 146
"When using what the rest of the world uses as unemployment the US runs about 9-10%."


Three organizations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Office (ILO), and the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) adjust national data on unemployment to a common conceptual basis so that comparisons between the USA and other nations are uniform. The OECD calls these numbers the Standardized Unemployment rate (SUR).

All of these organizations publish statistics that are at odds with your statement.

The OECD currently shows the SUR as 4.5% for the USA, 4.3% for Ireland, and 9.2% for France.

Rillifane is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13,323
Gekko, thanks for the insightful article.
degas is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:55 AM
Posts: n/a
Yes, that is an interesting article from the NY Times.
Among other things is reveals such amazing statements as these:

"You can't just fire someone just because you don't like them," Mr. Grangé said. But you can fire him for doing a job badly.
In any case, employers must first summon the workers to a preliminary meeting to warn them that they may lose their jobs. Then they must send a registered letter telling a worker he is fired, listing the reasons and explaining the efforts that were made to find him another position in the company and detailing the support he will receive later on usually a training program.

Of course, the current situation has major problems. But to whine that you have to prove an employee did a bad job to get fired, and you have to actually give them a warning before officially firing them? These are some of the rules they want to get rid of? Give me a break.
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,686
I have noticed that a lot of the posters here are speaking as employers and not employees. "Due process" and "justice" do not appear to have their place in the workplace in many people's minds. It seems that a truly efficient company must function as a dictatorship. It's very ironic, when one hears the ideals expounded by the same people, using words like "freedom".

But to get back to the subject of France (and quite a bit of the rest of Europe), many people do not have the same work ethic as in different parts of the world. They do not necessarily criticize the success of the United States or China in economic matters. But should one be obliged to choose the same sort of life. I often wonder why an economy should continue to expand at a fast rate when the nation is already developed. It would seem that instead people should be able to say "we worked really hard and we built the country; now we can relax a little and appreciate the fruits of our efforts" -- this is what I have seen happening in Singapore over the last 20 years -- they used to work like crazy, and now they are devoted to leisure. I think it is fantastic for them. Are you workaholics going to fill your coffins with all your extra money?
kerouac is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,498
kerouac...you are getting very preachy now. i think we are all well aware of the different work ethics around the world but any student of history knows that civilisations rise and fall (of course not all due to work ethic) but no civilisation can rest upon what its grandfathers accomplished. nice dream but not reality. i'm not sure how long you have lived in france but it sounds like you are still in your honeymoon period.
walkinaround is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:40 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 146

It is, of course, more than "giving" a reason. Its being able to prove it in a court of law where the burden of proof and risk of non-persuasion is on you, the employee swears that you're a liar and denies anything you don't have videotaped.
Rillifane is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,069
What many posters seem to be missing with regard to the "employment at will" paradigm is that it works both ways.

I've been an employee at my current firm for 13 years now, but I could be fired tomorrow if I screwed up badly enough. Similarly, I could quit tomorrow if I believed there was good reason for it.

In reality, neither will happen tomorrow. Why? Because my employer has too much invested in me to let me go. Frankly, it would be ruinous to the operations of this company. Similarly, it would be ruinous (for a while, anyway) to my bank account if I were to suddenly deprive myself of a paycheck.

The guy who had my job before me was a bumbling loser who lasted all of 6 months in the position. Thank goodness he was fired. It worked out better for me, better for the company, and (eventually) better for him as well, as he ended up in a job better suited to his skill set.
mr_go is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,753
You know, here in the US, certainly in California, we have many of the same protections for workers. Of the things specifically listed in Kerouac's initial post,

-- resisting sexual harrassment
-- pointing out safety violations to authorities
-- becoming pregnant
-- real or imagined homosexuality
-- requesting payment of overtime hours
-- health conditions such as being epilectic or HIV positive (end quote)

which of these would ever be a legal cause for firing someone in the US?

Barbara is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,878
This post is interesting reading. So much potential, so little realized.
1."Cadillac1234" shoots from the hip, with an unsourced statistic of 10% unemployment & "Rillifane" counters with a factual and sourced 4.5%, and some people continue to believe the former. None so blind as those who will not see.
2. Half the growth, double the unemployment. Cause & effect?
3. The thread was kicked off by "kerouac" implying that no other legal remedy exists for sexual harass-ment, safety violations, etc. If France is anything like other developed countries, there are numerous redundant laws which cover these things, yet they are not mentioned. For example, IF one were fired for requesting overtime pay, there would be a Federal investigation and sanction with fine of the company, as well as exposure to civil suit(s).
4. Also missing is any personal know-ledge of the nature of the contract after 2 years. Some years ago, an employee with 3 years tenure was entitled to 5 years full pay if terminated, plus unemployment. In my case, we chose to open a facility in Germany almost solely because of the rigidity of the French labor structure. Germans gained employment, French lost, these well-paying jobs. Think about it: 20K/yr, 2 yrs., yields a potential 100K liability which would have to be recorded on the company's books. That's 100K on 40K earnings in those two years, in other words a 250% payroll tax. Yes, 250%, folks. That's on top of the other payroll taxes. No greater disincentive to hiring than that. If YOU were an employer, wouldn't YOU think at least 8 or 9 times before hiring someone under such a disincentive?
tomboy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:47 AM.