French government slams textile firm over India offer

13th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The French government is shocked over the offer a french textile firm offered employees "move to India or lose your job."

PARIS – The French government on Tuesday assailed a French textile firm director who offered to relocate laid-off employees to India for a salary of EUR 69 (USD 92) per month.

"This is unacceptable. This is a provocation. This is profoundly shocking," said government spokesman and industry minister Luc Chatel.

The Carreman factory that employs 150 people in the southwestern town of Castres last week sparked an outrage when it made the offer to nine employees who are facing layoffs because of the global downturn.

Company director Francois Morel said in his defence he was simply applying French law stating that laid-off workers must be given the option of working at another plant.

The nine employees were told by letter that they could work for Carreman in Bangalore for EUR 69 a month. The minimum legal monthly salary in France is EUR 1,321.

The letter said they would have to work a six-day week but that they would have certain benefits such as medical insurance.

The Castres workers, who all turned down the offer, were also told they would get free plane tickets and a EUR 1,000 bonus for moving.

Chatel told RMC/BFM TV that while he was outraged by the offer, it was "not illegal" because any French company can offer to relocate employees abroad.

The president of the Medef business lobby, Laurence Parisot, condemned Carreman for making the cynical offer saying it was "shameful, humiliating, sadistic and unacceptable."

Local union activists who got a hold of the letters from non-unionized workers said the plant had resorted to the same tactic in 2004 by offering relocation to Romania for EUR 135 a month.

"I know it's stupid," Carreman director Francois Morel was quoted as saying in the Depeche du Midi newspaper. "But that's the stupidity of the law."

Carreman has another plant in France and also operates in India and Romania.

AFP / Expatica

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