HP's French headache
(Warning; main links in this entry will be to French context)
Negotiations on Hewlett Packard's (see wiki-site here) decision to shut down 1240 jobs in France began today the 3rd of november after 1 1/2 months of stalemate. The stalemate was triggered after the HP delegation committed the cardinal sin of questioning the 35 hours work week much hailed by French workers and unions but seen as a competitive disadvantage by many foreign cooperations in France.
"L'accord RTT de 1999, qui prévoit 205 jours de travail par an, est un "désavantage compétitif", "par (sa) renégociation, nous serons à même d'ouvrir des postes", assurait ainsi le 12 octobre le PDG de HP France Philippe Starck. Selon lui, "un nombre de postes significatif", supérieur à "des dizaines", pourrait être sauvé s'il était remis en cause." - See article from Nouvelobs here
It will be interesting to see how the situation will evolve; the unions probably won't budge much and the French government will most unlikely take the side of a foreign multinational. The result will probably be that the 1240 workers will be laid off with unions rioting and the government crying out against the mishaps of anglo-saxon capitalism - Typically French.
The full plan of the HP restruturing can be found here.