A result of French anti-capitalism was revealed in last week's Spectator, in the form of an industrial dispute which bubbled up after the Government decided to give a contract for producing new biometric passports to a private company rather than the state-owned printing company:One can only but rejoice that such an absurd scenario can no longer happen in the UK. Why on Earth does the French Government surrender to trade union militants so easily?In most countries that decision would have been routine but, France being France, a massive row broke out. The state-owned Imprimerie Nationale, the national printers who would traditionally be entrusted with making the passports, were outraged. The company didn’t even own the technology needed to produce the passports, but that didn’t stop the printers' trade union suing. The union bosses claimed that Imprimerie Nationale had a monopoly on passport production. To make sure that the government took notice, a motley crew of communist and socialist activists, local officials — and even an MP — took the law into their own hands and kidnapped the chief executive of the company, holding him hostage for a few hours. Rather than throwing the militants in jail, the spineless French authorities surrendered.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Over on Tory Convert's blog a post about the absurdities of public sector union monopoly practices in France.