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May 25, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

State corporatism and featherbedding still rules at France Telecom where an anonymous group of high-level managers at France Telecom have authored a book Telecommunications in Question, warning the public of the dangers of deregulation and of privatising the state-held operator. The management of the operator would follow essentially financial criteria. The operator would tend to reduce salary costs by eliminating employees. Statutary employment guarantees would be rapidly bypassed before being abandoned, the authors note. In the chapter on pricing policy, the authors say moving toward cost-based tariffs privileges the big consumer at the expense of the small consumer. The privatisation project for France Telecom has been postponed indefinitely to give president Marcel Roulet time to negotiate the change with personnel. No recognition of course that the big consumer is the major company that has to compete on the world market in order to earn the money that ultimately sets France’s relative standard of living vis-a-vis the rest of the world, which has the freedom to take its investment – and the jobs it creates – elsewhere if France’s telecommunications tariffs and the kind of Comecon thinking that tends to price whole economies out of world markets holds sway.

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