Unfair Competition

The nation pastime in France is striking against “unfair competition”. To French socialists, the term “unfair competition” means any competition.

On Tuesday French unions decided once again to do something about the unfairness: make everyone miserable as best they can.

Flights Cancelled

Bloomberg reports Taxi Drivers Take to the Streets in 24-Hour French Strikes.

France endured mass strikes on Tuesday as taxi drivers, air traffic controllers, civil servants and teachers demanded more purchasing power, job creation and an end to disruptive competition to traditional industries.

Hundreds of taxi drivers took to the streets of Paris, burning car tyres and blocking routes to principal airports in a demonstration that spread disruption across the capital.

A protest by air traffic controllers prompted France’s Civil Aviation Authority to ask airlines to cancel 20 per cent of their flights in France.

The strikes stand to create further problems for President François Hollande and his socialist government as he battles with low economic growth and record unemployment. Mr Hollande has promised not to run for re-election in 2017 if he does not manage to reverse the upward trend in joblessness.

On Tuesday, hundreds of taxi drivers blocked the road at Paris’s Porte Maillot, one of the capital’s principal entry points. By early morning, they had already succeeded in blocking one direction of the eight-lane highway. Television images showed the strikers lighting fireworks and dragging metal barriers in front of commuter cars desperate to pass.

Waving flags and burning tyres, the taxi drivers were protesting about the rise of disruptive competition such as Uber, the US ride-sharing application, and Heetch, a French ride-sharing app that has become popular among young people.

Among other things, they argue that minicab drivers working with services such as Uber do not have to pay the elevated prices for a regular licence — which have reached as high as €240,000 — and therefore compete under different conditions.

In June last year, police in riot gear used tear gas to break up a protest by taxi drivers, who had all but stopped transport to and from the capital’s airports.

Economic Emergency

With today’s strike, the economic emergency in France just got bigger. On January 18, I noted Hollande Declares “Economic Emergency” to Save Jobs – His.

Emergency Effort to Save Hollande’s Job

With a national election 15 months away and unemployment not falling, a crisis in France emerged: French president Francois Hollande’s own job is at risk.

Having  promised to step down as president if unemployment in France fails to drop this year, Hollande took the necessary action.

He declared a state of emergency to save jobs, namely his.

Hollande’s job creation proposal centered around training schemes and apprenticeships. Few if any jobs would be created with such schemes. However, unemployment would drop because people in those programs are not considered unemployed.

How to Create Jobs

The primary reason French companies will not hire workers is that it’s so damn hard to get rid of them later if they do.

Add to that mountains of regulations including inane laws that tell businesses when they can or cannot open the doors.

If Hollande wants to create jobs, this is what he needs to do.

  1. Make it easier for businesses to fire workers.
  2. Let any business that wants to do so, open the doors on Sunday.
  3. Reduce unemployment benefits.
  4. Get rid of countless regulations telling businesses what they can and cannot do.
  5. Get rid of tariffs and subsidies.
  6. Cut taxes, both corporate and personal. Become a pro-business country.

He won’t do that because it would cost Hollande his job.

And saving one’s ass is always the top priority, so much so, it’s now a national emergency.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock