PARIS -- French car parts maker Valeo's Chief Executive Thierry Morin attacked the U.S. union system as "archaic", saying in a newspaper interview it was easier to close factories in Europe than in the United States.
Morin's comments in an interview with the Financial Times published on Friday come as the United Auto Workers union, which dominates worker relations at U.S.-owned carmakers, is being pressed to help provide financial relief to General Motors, the world's biggest carmaker.
"There is a good management at GM and Ford. But unfortunately they suffer from such an archaic system," Morin said.
Morin has shut or sold 60 factories in the past four years and shifted his workforce to low-cost countries in eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America as he sought to turn around deep losses.
One of his first acts when he took over Valeo in 2001 was to put its loss-making U.S. subsidiary into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to resolve a standoff with the IUE electrical union over jobs and pay in Rochester, New York.
"It is more complicated to close down a plant in North America than in Europe. Maybe it comes from the fact that there is less of a safety net afterwards for the workers in the U.S.," he said.