Does Anyone Actually Work for their Paycheck in France?

Hit and Run pointed out this story about a left-wing French newspaper that is looking to the Rothschilds for financial help.  I thought this would be a more interesting story of hippie meets banker, but I did find this one bit fascinating (shown in bold):

Mr. Rothschild, a scion of the powerful banking family,
forced out the long-serving editor of the paper in the summer. Serge
July, the editor who had created Libération along with
philosopher-writer Jean-Paul Sartre, said he resigned in hopes that his
departure would help save the paper from more radical changes.

Mr. July's exit was covered in the French media as the end of an era, a French version of the Japanese
seppuku, or ritual suicide, by a man who represented a more uncorrupted, hopeful France.

Since Mr. July left, some of Libération's best-known
reporters have quit, including Florence Aubenas, who was held hostage
in Iraq for six months in 2005. They have invoked the "conscience
clause" in French law that requires media owners to continue paying the
salary of journalists whose honor is offended by the owners' policies
or politics.

How screwed up does a legislature have to be to pass something this ridiculous?

  • I knew I should have been a journalist. The first thing I would have done is get a job at a French paper and get offended.

  • French business and employment law seems to be a Clive Barker-esque puzzle box.

  • Dan

    Remarkable. By credibly threatening a mass-departure, French journalists can force their employer to do anything. The 'workers' thereby control the means of production. One simple law, and France's entire newspaper industry is communized. Remind me to continue hating France...

  • markm

    So this leads to two rules for anyone considering owning a French newspaper:

    1) Don't buy an existing newspaper, start a new one. Hopefully the ones you didn't buy will go bankrupt, leaving their staffs with small pieces of the printing press in lieu of their lifetime salary.

    2) Make very, very sure the political bias of every employee is a close match to yours.

  • DH

    I was in Cannes, France recently on business and called the local office for a overnite package pick up. I was told that the drivers arrive at work around 10:00 but took lunch from 11:30 to 1:00, they would then break from 2:00 to 4:00 and depart work at 5:00.

  • I'm really interested to see how the French wine industry looks in 5, 10, 20 years. Seems like France is full of regulations and laws like the one cited. With all sorts of decent, good and even great wine being grown everywhere (e.g. I've had decent stuff from a winery down by Tombstone, Arizona) whether it's Chile, Australia, Moldova or Colorado I would think all those rules would hold them back in finding ways to produce the win less expensively without compromising their quality.