Thursday, September 01, 2005

French judges unleashed

EU Rota links to this absolutely amazing story that appeared recently in the Telegraph:
A French judge has ordered Nestle to re-open a loss-making factory, delighting France's anti-globalisation radicals but setting a precedent that could scare away foreign investment.
The Swiss food giant has been told to re-launch production at the chocolate and Nescafe plant outside Marseilles, employing 427 workers.
It was closed in June after nine years of mounting problems. Capacity usage had fallen to 30%, chiefly due to falling demand for a strain of decaf coffee produced at the site.
The profitable bits have since been switched to plants in Italy, Spain and northern France.
Nestle called the ruling "unbelievable and unprecedented", claiming that it abridged its basic freedom to manage its operations.
"This plant has no chance of ever making money in the long-term. We offered all workers jobs within the group in other parts of France, or early retirement for those over 55," said François-Xavier Pellourd, the company spokesman.
The judge said Nestle had breached France's strict code on plant closures and questioned whether the move was justified on commercial grounds.
Are these guys for real? I mean, seriously, how stupid can people actually be? There are few things I find more annoying than people who refuse to accept simple realities, such as:
  • Rigid labour markets condemn millions of people to unemployment.
  • Forcing unprofitable factories to reopen is not exactly an incentive for companies to invest in France - condemning even more people to unemployment!
The "most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world"? Ha! What a pathetic joke. As the Adam Smith Institute blog says (via L'Ombre de l'Olivier), maybe the EU should get rid of France... Then again, who are we kidding? Most member states are part of the problem.

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