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the whole port thing strongly reminded me of teh proposed Mittel take over and the politicians reaction.
by observer393 on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 10:03:07 PM EST
How so?

The French reaction has been: we've spent billions and billions to restructure our steel industry properly, trying to make sure that the workers were not totally abandoned as they were put out of work, and keeping a smaller but competitive company, and now the result gets bought over for peanuts by someone who will care only about profits and not about the 30,000 workers that remain in France?

The counter reaction are:

  • fine, you restructured it, so why is it worth so little? (a fair question, and a very complex one, which goes deep into issues of who runs capitalism in France and how privatisation was run);

  • the existing company is just as ruthless with workers as the new buyer is likely to be, so what are you complaining about? (interestingly, the French media has played that angle a lot, interviewing unions reps from Mittal's existing plants in France, which were saying rather nice things about their employer) Plus Arcelor is no longer French already;

Agaisnt that, there's are the followign arguments:

  • that Mittal will remain under the absolute control of a family, which is not really conducive to shareholders having any influence on the new company;

  • that Mittal has made its money in low-grade steels and in the restructuring of steel mills in the developing world, taking them over at very low prices and improving their performance via massive layoffs and some investment - these competences are not required here.

The debate, apart from a few stupid comments by a politician or two (which have been of course played massively), has been of a quite high standard, and touching upon very relevant questions. Mittal has himself played the racism card quite extensively, from what I can understand. Is that appropriate?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2006 at 04:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politicians in both countries shall we say racist comments.
by observer393 on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 12:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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