Thursday, April 06, 2006
British budget airline boss tells 'lazy frogs' to go back to work
The chairman of a British low-cost airline has condemned French strikers protesting at new youth labour laws, posting a message on his firm's website calling for "lazy frogs" to go back to work.
Jet2.com boss Philip Meeson's comments -- illustrated by a toy frog reclining in front of an air traffic control tower -- were prompted after students staged a sit-in on the runway at Chambery airport in the Alps.
Flights were grounded after air-traffic controllers supported the action against controversial plans to introduce contracts for under 26-year-olds that employers can terminate without explanation during a two-year trial period.
In the message published March 30,
Meeson wrote: "Jet2.com condemns French strike action and calls for lazy frogs to get back to work!"
He added: "What exactly are you striking about? Or just in case you don't understand that, 'pouvez-vous nous expliquer pourquoi exactement etes-vous en greve?'
"After a token stoppage why can't you just sort the matter out amicably without bringing thousands of people around the world, who, I would like to add, give your country huge economic wealth, into the argument?"
The comments, widely reported in British newspapers Wednesday, were condemned by the French air traffic controllers' union, who were said to have called Meeson's language "unacceptable".
A CGT spokesman was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: "If people in France do not agree with the government it is a very good reason (to strike)."
British members of the European Parliament also rounded on Meeson for "cheap and derogatory" remarks.
But Meeson, whose firm operates low-cost flights out of northern England, was unrepentant, telling the Daily Telegraph: "It was tongue in cheek."