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Economy

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le patron des patrons ne connaît pas la crise

by Maud Vergnol

Recession Hasn’t Affected Bosses’ Boss

Translated Sunday 18 May 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

A rude remark. Anything goes for Pierre Gattaz, and that’s even the way you recognize him. The satirical weekly newspaper Le Canard enchaîné revealed on May 6 that the president of the MEDEF, the French bosses’ association, got a 29% pay hike in 2013 as general director of the Radiall company.

That represents the modest sum of 420,000 euros, and it did not prevent him, as representative of the French bosses – he being dead to all sense of shame – from launching a call for “wage restraint” and for exemplary conduct on May 5. Furious at Le Canard enchainé’s revelations, he took up his pen to justify himself on his blog. “When you create wealth, you distribute it,” the boss of the bosses dared write. An odd sort of reading of Marx, when you know that over the same period, the wages of his employees only rose by 3.3%, whereas the dividends granted to the company’s shareholders rose by 76%. “There comes a time when each person has to be responsible: you can’t demand a fall in the minimum wage, and even the abolition of the minimum wage, and at the same time think that there isn’t a maximum wage,” was François Hollande’s reaction when interviewed on Radio Monte Carlo on May 6.

The revelation is indeed cause for the French president to worry, so much does it demonstrate the inanity of the “responsibility pact,” the 30-billion-euro gift [to business] that is supposed to create jobs. The business done by the Radiall company, whose turnover shot up 27% over four years, should have produced what Pierre Gattaz describes as “a terrain that is favorable to hiring.” But, as Le Canard enchaîné has demonstrated, not only did the company’s workforce decrease over that same period, but it chalked up a jump in the use of temporary workers. And yet, the boss of the MEDEF guarantees that “yes, thanks to the responsibility pact, we will create one million net jobs by 2020.” If Pierre Gattaz says so…


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