When is working a crime?

Imagine the government forcing your 7-day business to close one day a week.

Only in France

France’s top baguette baker has attacked his country’s attitude to work after he was ordered to stop opening his shop seven days a week.

Stephane Cazenave has been told he will face a ?1,500 ($2,300) fine if he fails to adhere to a law which states that all shops selling bread must close one day a week.

Mr Cazenave, who runs a bakery in Saint-Paul-les-Dax, in south-west France, says the 1999 prefectural order means he will lose ?250,000 ($382,000) a year and will be forced to lay off some of his 22 staff, who work five-day weeks.

The ruling has sparked a debate in France, with many viewing the baker’s plight as a symbol of all that is wrong with anti-business regulations.

Currently French MPs are debating a bill seeking to cut red tape and inject more flexibility into the French labour market.

Mr Cazenave, who won ‘best baguette of France’ award last year, told TV channel France 3: ‘I am treated like a thug just because I asked to work. Working shouldn’t be a crime in France.

‘I opened seven days a week three and a half years ago. I create jobs and wealth and I don’t see why one would hinder me doing so.’

Socialists know better than you do. ?They will try to run everything about your life. ?How much you can work, how much you can earn, how much tax they give to people who don’t have to work. ?

He emphasised that all his employees were given two days off a week, and that the ban was on the bakery itself.

The Socialist government insisted it is promoting more flexibility, but said bakers themselves helped draw up the rules.

Jean-Pierre Crouzet, head of the national bakers’ and confectioners’ confederation, said it made sense to uphold the rules to encourage competition by obliging people to buy bread elsewhere at least once a week.

He said: ‘They aren’t to prevent people from working but to ensure a balance, to promote the quality of products.’

Cazenave’s case has succeeded in galvanising the fractious opposition centre-Right, split over how to deal with the far-Right Front National.

‘That work can be seen as a crime in our country and the passion of a craftsman bridled in such a way should be a wake up call for us to the absurdity of our system,’ wrote Francois Fillon, a former prime minister with the centre-Right UMP party.

The Greens and the Labour party still have some way to go. ?Even they haven’t had the guts to call for legislation that will force businesses to close one day a week, although I can see the Unite Union giving it a trial run on McDonald’s.

At times I think we already live in a socialist paradise, but then you read about France and we can be but thankful that Helen Clark’s boney fingers slipped from the nation’s tiller.


– Mail Online