Thursday, July 4, 2019

in France your title matters

In France, your title matters. People who have worked for French firms know that the distance from management to employer on the floor is very long.

In many even big companies, you can run a firm with 4 or perhaps 5 layers between the top management and the people working on the floor. In French firms 7 or 8 such layers are not uncommon.

So when a Danish truck driver - Torben Nielsen - drove on his first job as a truck driver, he stood no chance when the truck was stopped in customs and they found drugs. He had just been hired and ordered to drive a truck to Denmark and had no chance to know what was inside the sealed truck. Now he will suffer 6 years in prison in France.

In fact the local Danish job-center had ordered him to take the job or suffer punishment work without pay as it is common in Denmark.

The Danish job-market

When you are fired and unemployed in Denmark, you have to report to the local job-center. Here the case worker has a long list of personal friends where you can be sent to be "job-tested" working an ordinary job but your salary is in fact the unemployment benefit and you do not earn the right to vacation. Sometime like in the case of Torben Nielsen, they send you to an employer telling you to take the job or lose your benefit.

Normally the employers working close together with the case workers at the job-centers are in the export business where salary levels are important, so by hiring a large number of unemployed people while they "job-train" them for free, they can get an edge in the international business.

The losers are of course the unemployed people who in the long run will be unable to pay rent and move out of the cities to the parts of Denmark called "The Rotten Banana" robbing not only themselves of a future but also their children because out there you find no schools beyond elementary levels.

This situation is a result of labor reforms made in the 1990's. Labor reforms, the French president Macron are pushing for in France too. However unlike the Danish trade unions which are good for nothing, the labor movement in France has been able to stop this degrading treatment of ordinary tax-payers.

Did Torben Nielsen have any chance of preventing being a part of a criminal organization?

No. Once ordered by a job-center he had to report to a job appointed to him by his employer. In such a situation, he was not allowed to ask questions. You might ask yourselves if picking something up in Spain is not being guilty because earlier cases have shown that tourists in Spain has been blackmailed to collect drugs in South America based on photos hacked by the smugglers where the criminals claim that they will kill someone at home if they do participate.

Spain is the center of most criminal activities in the drug traffic, so yes - Torben Nielsen should have been suspicious. No Danish truck driver has any business south of Germany. That is something which should be left to drivers from the eastern part of Europe who are willing to take risk without thinking of the consequences of other people who might be on the road that day. But then again: We do not know what connection the case worker in the job-center had with Torben Nielsen's employer. Could it be that the case worker actually was in on it and wanted to frame Torben Nielsen? Or are Torben Nielsen one of those people who is not aware about the world outside Denmark and believe the best in people?

If you are unemployed in Denmark and do not behave

The case-workers have punishment in mind of those of the unemployed who do not accept everything the case worker says.

They can be force people into training sessions. Often firms are hired to punish people. Some people were ordered to sit with their feet in cold water all day "to improve their stamina". It did not matter if they caught a cold or even got pneumonia. If they quit, they could lose their unemployment benefit.

Is Torben Nielsen victim of xenophobia?

A bit. He is a foreigner in France. But he also just doing an ordinary job with no good job-title. Customer care, shop-assistant and truck driver are not considered something you choose as line of business for other than fun. He is a victim and now he has six years to accept that.

Sources (In Danish)

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