French union protesters attack Uber cab for “unfair competition.” No, really.

posted at 8:01 pm on January 13, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

As constantly cited by economists, financiers, and businesses, some of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the stubbornly lethargic-and/or-decelerating French economy — the second-largest in the eurozone, for now — are their range of prohibitively complex and rigid labor laws that put a major damper on business activity, investment, innovation, and hiring.

French taxi unions, however, are evidently unmoved by this economic reality. Via the Financial Times:

Hundreds of taxi drivers jammed roads around Paris and other big French cities on Monday in a protest against what they called unfair competition from private cabs, despite moves by the Socialist government to protect them.

In action that highlighted the problem facing President François Hollande as he promises to loosen business regulation, massed taxis driving at a snail’s pace snarled roads from the two main Paris airports into the city and staged similar demonstrations elsewhere to demand a clampdown on the emergence of private taxi services.

Mr Hollande, due to outline moves to ease labour costs and red tape on Tuesday, has promised a “simplification shock” for business to help boost a sluggish economic recovery and generate jobs. But the government remains prone to imposing new restraints in the face of resistance by vested interests.

One of the long-established traditional taxi industry’s chief complaints of “unfair competition,” whatever the heck that means, comes with the burgeoning success of Uber cab and several similar French companies that are giving them a run for their money by arranging rides and payment with customers through their smartphones. As I mentioned last week, the unions managed to push through a law that would force such smartphone-hailing car services to wait through a completely arbitrary fifteen-minute [dis]grace period to pick up their passengers, but Uber, et al are so far determined to fight the law — which may explain why things got violent when an Uber driver tried to shuttle a passenger through the strike zone (i.e., you know, the highway) earlier:

But the protests turned violent when taxi drivers apparently attacked the Uber van that was transporting Kat Borlongan, co-founder of consulting firm Five by Five, and Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage.

“Attackers tried to get in the car but our brave @uber driver maneuvered us to safety, changed the tire on the freeway and got us home.

— Kat Borlongan (@KatBorlongan) January 13, 2014″

“They also tried to open the doors, but fortunately our driver had locked them,” Visage told The Verge. While their van didn’t have any visible Uber branding on it, the protesters were attacking vehicles from all types of independent operators.

Uber confirmed the incident in a statement on its website. “That taxis chose to use violence today is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business,” the company said. “However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their city, and today’s incident certainly discourages Parisians from choosing a taxi for their next ride.”

Heh.


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French union protesters attack Uber cab for “unfair competition.” No, really.

Replace the word “French” with “American”…

And I still wouldn’t be shocked…

Electrongod on January 13, 2014 at 8:07 PM

All pro union people are losers, that’s why they join a union. They can’t take care of themselves so they whine and cry until some else takes care of them.

Flange on January 13, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Violence inherent in the Left.

rbj on January 13, 2014 at 8:12 PM

…why isn’t Paris burning?

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Violence inherent in the Left.

rbj on January 13, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Come see the violence inherent in the System!

Kafir on January 13, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Their best move was ousting the Huguenots.

Murphy9 on January 13, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Umm… hullo… public schools teachers? Wisconsin?

Why do you think this is different in France? We just had it here 3 years ago.

Skywise on January 13, 2014 at 8:33 PM

In other news ObamaCare continues to cut a swath of destruction wider than Moochelle’s jacked up butt.

SparkPlug on January 13, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Jason and the argonaughts were my favorite naughts.

SparkPlug on January 13, 2014 at 8:38 PM

“Sacré bleu!”

rlhjax on January 13, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Those marked taxis should make such easy targets for retaliation … And they deserve it.

I hear they have a thing for burning cars in France. It’s some sort of national pastime. Something that every nation deep into its 5th “republic” gets into, I hear.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 13, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Enjou your Socialism while it lasts, France. When the money is gone turn out the lights

simkeith on January 13, 2014 at 8:44 PM

As a Franco lover, I can say with experience that the one thing French taxi drivers are afraid to give up is their monopoly on arrogance.

It’s next to impossible to hail a cab on the streets, and if you do manage to stop one, the driver will make you pay for it by snide remarks and a general attitude that he’s doing you a favor.

And they treat all passengers as equals. French and foreigner alike.

These new taxis services and private cars are trying to create a “customer is always right” atmosphere which threatens the fools currently driving the union taxis.

Walter L. Newton on January 13, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Come see the violence inherent in the System!

Kafir on January 13, 2014 at 8:21 PM

‘elp! ‘elp!, I’m being repressed!

viking01 on January 13, 2014 at 8:49 PM

One of the long-established traditional taxi industry’s chief complaints of “unfair competition,” whatever the heck that means

Usually “unfair competition” means something like this.

Stoic Patriot on January 13, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Embrace Le Suck

-Nancy Pelosium

canopfor on January 13, 2014 at 9:09 PM

Sorry guys, but if someone else can provide a better service that people want to pay for in an industry as normal and common as transportation they should be able to, your public union be damned.

It’s your fault for having a crappy business model.

And then you pull a Christie and block up major parts of Paris’ roadways? What is this a heist?

New York isn’t much better, fighting the modern services that want in on the market.

Genuine on January 13, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Oh darn.

I WAS thinking about visiting the Loire Valley in the next year or so.

Oh well. Sedona.

WryTrvllr on January 13, 2014 at 10:10 PM

They’re only thinking of “the children” (them).

Competition is so MEAN. Trophies for everybody — yay!

RobertMN on January 13, 2014 at 10:10 PM

…why isn’t Paris burning?

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2014 at 8:15 PM

I think the flash flame already happened. This will be an eye opener if the people of Paris reject or encourage this Marxist ideology. Weird like Marie Antoinette time. Yet strange how the government (unions) now take the place of the Antoinette’s that the people really hated. The people of Paris need to grow some balls and confront the unions.

Wileygrl3 on January 13, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Thuggishness. Part of the liberal/union psyche.

Genuine on January 13, 2014 at 10:05 PM

And your boys block the flow of cheap energy.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 13, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Taxis are driven by Muslims. You’ll excuse me for not being shocked things got violence.

KMC1 on January 14, 2014 at 1:53 AM

Violence is not the last refuge for collectivists, but often very near the front of the line.

GWB on January 14, 2014 at 9:32 AM

As to “unfair competition”, I would think that violently attacking your competitors and slashing tires and such would be the epitome of that phrase.

GWB on January 14, 2014 at 9:40 AM

These “Uber” taxis are upsetting someone’s settle way of life (or their expectations). Now the “Ubers” if they continue will force the other taxi drivers and companies to work harder to be competative. It is not surprising that the taxi drivers resort to violence because they can’t (for now) compete on the basis of efficient operation. Changing the way one thinks takes time.

Russ808 on January 14, 2014 at 5:30 PM