PARIS, March 25 (UPI) -- A severance package worth $4.1 million lavished on an auto parts company executive has provoked outrage in France, where unemployment has topped 2 million.
French Budget Minister Eric Woerth called the parting pay package for Thierry Morin, who left the Valeo parts company Monday, "provocative" and "abnormal," The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The company lost $250 million and laid off 1,600 workers in 2008. In addition, the company accepted $25 million in emergency aid from the French government to help it survive the economic downturn.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the government, now an 8 percent shareholder in the company with voting rights, would seek to have the severance package returned, the newspaper said.
"Those who do not demonstrate a sense of responsibility endanger our whole social and economic system," Fillon said.
"Enough is enough," said Parliamentary Leader Jean-Francois Cope, who said a new law to cap executive pay was a possibility.
In a television interview, Woerth said, 'those who proceed in this manner have understood nothing."
The bonus pay issue flared up on France a week ago, when Societe Generale said it was giving four senior executives favorable stock options in spite of losing $6 billion last year and accepting $2 billion in government help, the Post said.