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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 6:23 PM

French Email Ban Update: "Duty to Disconnect"

In response to France Prohibits Sending Work Emails, Answering Cell Phones, Outside Working Hours one reader strenuously objected.

After exchanging numerous emails, his main objection was the accuracy of the title itself "France Prohibits Sending Work Emails, Answering Cell Phones, Outside Working Hours."

Here is the exact headline of the La Vanguardia article that I translated "France prohibits sending mails from work outside working hours".

The reader's big objection? Claiming "France" did this.

Similarly, the Guardian received a lot of flak for its report When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it.

The Guardian originally had the number of people affected at 1,000,000. They corrected it to 250,000 and posted this correction.

This article was amended on 11 April 2014. An earlier version stated that the labour deal would affect "a million employees" and require staff "to switch off their phones after 6pm". The deal obliges staff to "disconnect" from work calls and emails after working hours to ensure they receive the full minimum rest periods already mandated in French employment regulations but there is no particular time at which they are required to do so. While the deal was signed by unions representing 1 million employees, it will affect only 250,000 workers directly.

The article I quoted did not mention a time of day or the number of people affected. Thus, I did not have several errors that were present in the Guardian report.

Moreover, I know how these things start. In my opinion, this will quickly cascade, to numerous other unions.

Duty to Disconnect

A Translation on Les Echos speaks of the "duty to disconnect communication tools at a distance" to ensure that the minimum rest periods imposed by the French and European regulations on workload and minimum rest time.

Correcting the Guardian, Slate France complains France does not prohibit employees from sending mails after 18h

Here is an amusing snip (translation not modified)...

A response to a court order

It is far from a victory for labor unions on employers as required by the snapshot on France.

The agreement is negotiated since September by representatives of employers and employees, and responds to a decision of the Supreme Court, which in April 2013 had invalidated the previous device, holding the amplitude control and workload days packages insufficient. And therefore the health of employees not protected enough.
Supposedly ....

  1. France did not issue the ruling (instead, a French court mandated it) 
  2. It's not even a victory for the labor unions
  3. Only 250,000 are affected 
  4. It won't spread

Lost in the nitpicking over titles, the entire point of my original post was the ridiculousness of it all. And it is ridiculous.

No one forces anyone to answer emails or cell phones. No agreements or legislation was needed. But here it is, and it will spread.

Getting the idea correct ... Business Insider reports France didn’t actually ban work email after 6 pm — but what did happen is still really funny "France's administrative court recently ruled that tech workers' right to health and rest was not sufficiently protected by existing laws. Yes, a judge actually said that."

My sin? I said "France" not "French Court Rules".

Apologies offered.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

12:56 PM

Specter of Civil War; Putin's Army Hiding – Not Even CNN Can Find It; Easy Solution

Today the government of Ukraine moved with force against the separatists, evoking a Specter of Civil War.

Ukraine unleashed an offensive to dislodge militants from towns in its eastern Donetsk region as the authorities in Kiev said elements of Russian special forces were identified among the anti-government forces.

Four militants were killed and two wounded when Ukrainian troops stormed an airport in Kramatorsk, taking it under control, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news service reported. Ukrainian units backed by armored personnel carriers blocked all approaches to the town of Slovyansk, RIA said, citing an a pro-Russian activist, Sergey Tsyplakov. Part of Russia’s 45th Airborne Regiment was spotted in both of the towns, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema said on Channel 5.

The U.S. and EU states say Russia is behind the turmoil that has fueled their worst standoff since the Cold War. Russia, which NATO says has 40,000 troops massed on Ukraine’s border, denies involvement and says the government in Kiev isn’t protecting Russian-speaking citizens. In warnings similar to those that preceded its annexation of Crimea last month, it insists it has the right to protect them with force if needed.
40,000 Troops - Where Are They?

Countless times over the past few weeks the US, NATO, and EU spoke of mass buildup of Russian forces on the Ukraine border. OK so where are the troops?

Pater Tenebrarum at Acting Man notes Putin's Army Still Hiding – Not Even CNN Can Find It
While it certainly appears possible that Russian special forces are lending a helping hand to the separatist movements in the Eastern Ukraine, we can continue to be quite sure that NATO is telling tall tales about the alleged 'massing of Russian troops' at the border with the Ukraine. Shortly after we noted that a UK journalist was unable to find Putin's army anywhere near the border, NATO published satellite pictures that seemed to prove the opposite.

The Russians averred that while these pictures were quite real, they were also outdated, showing the situation at the time drills were taking place last August. It seems they were telling the truth. CNN has sent a team of reporters to the areas where NATO asserted the troops are stationed, and couldn't find them either.
If you repeat lies often enough, do people believe them, or do the liars lose credibility (or both)?

All the major news outlets repeat lies that are easily disproved, and they keep on doing it.

Who is the Bully?

In terms of reneging on promises, the US has treated Russia like dirt. There is a very nice article in the Washington Post on that very subject.

If you want to see who is really behind the provocation in Ukraine, please read The U.S. has treated Russia like a loser since the end of the Cold War by Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991.

Matlock is the author of “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended.”

Hypocritical Cry For Democracy

Yesterday, at a UN Meeting on Ukraine Russia reiterated their narrative that the conflict has been pushed all along by terrorists waging a war against their own country.
“The international committee must require that henchmen of Maidan stop war with their own people,” the Russian Federation’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, according to NBC. “Western sponsors of Maidan including USA should stop this.”

“Apparently Maidan was a cry for democracy but apparently in Crimea or East Ukraine it’s an act of defiance, what is the difference? U.S. is going to encourage the criminal use of force? It makes no sense!”
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine where the former president was ousted.

Self Determination

Note the blatant US hypocrisy. The US is all for "self determination" provided it is the "self-determination" that we want.

Without a doubt the US fomented the Maidan uprising, but now is unhappy with the result.

Easy Solution

There is an easy way to end the crisis. Let the regions vote on what they want to do.

I proposed just that in US Treasury Signs $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee.
Mr Turchynov on Monday said in a meeting with MPs that the authorities were “not against holding a referendum” to determine the country’s fate.

That would be excellent news, if it were true. Unfortunately, both statements are a lie.  Turchynov is only in favor of a rigged vote. Why should Kiev get to vote on what is best for Donetsk?

I propose letting each Ukrainian area vote for itself.

Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave. By the way, why shouldn't the people decide?
Reader Krzysztof Kajetanowicz sarcastically responded ...

"Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave." And what is that assertion based on, exactly? Might as well say that "Northern Belgian [Dutch-speaking, or Flemish] areas would likely vote to leave and join the Netherlands".

I can easily explain my basis via a map of areas in Ukraine that speak Russian.

Russian Speaking Areas of Ukraine

Wikipedia notes Russophones make a majority of the population in Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine

  • Crimea — 97%
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast — 72%
  • Donetsk Oblast — 93%
  • Zaporizhia Oblast — 81%
  • Luhansk Oblast — 89%
  • Mykolaiv Oblast — 66%
  • Odessa Oblast — 85%
  • Kharkiv Oblast — 74%

In the absence of polling data on a vote for affiliation with Russia, I will stick with my assertion "Eastern Ukrainian areas would likely vote to leave."

While it may be impractical to allow each city to decide independently, it is not impractical to allow each region its say. And I propose just that.

None of Our Business

Quite frankly it's none of our business what they decide.

Of what importance is Ukraine to a farmer in Iowa or an auto worker in Ohio?Anyone but the warmongers?

The answer is none.

And by the way, the same setup exists in Spain. In December Spain's Catalonia Region Announced "Independence Referendum" for November 2014

Of course Madrid promptly vowed to block vote on "Independencia!"

Like Ukraine, Spain would be willing to have a "national vote". And also like Spain, Catalonia would fail to win majority approval in a national vote given Catalonia is one of the richest regions, and the other regions want Catalonia tax revenues.

But why should anyone but those in Catalonia have a say?

The answer is they shouldn't. Either way, it's simply none of our business.

Mish Pro-Russia?

Finally, I have been accused of being pro-Russia. I'm not.

Rather, I am against blatant US interference where we do not belong. I am against US hypocrisy on self determination only when it suits us. I am against all the lies by the Ukraine, NATO, US, and all the media outlets on easily disproved troop movements (and God only knows what else).

If the media outlets all trump up easily disproved lies, what else are they lying about?

This crisis would be over in a flash if Ukraine would put it to a vote. The warmongers don't want that. The hypocrites don't want that. They do want an escalation of tension, US missiles in Eastern Europe, and a host of other things that cannot possibly lead to anything good.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

1:10 AM

Ukraine Hikes Discount Rate from 6.5% to 9.5%, Overnight Rate to 14.5% to Halt Crash of Hryvnia

The Ukrainian Hryvnia has plunged six consecutive weeks to new record lows.

Since the beginning of the year, the Hryvnia has fallen from 8.26 to the US dollar, to 13.16 to the US dollar, a decline of 37.2%

On Monday, the Ukraine central bank pulled out the bazooka with a massive set of rate hikes.

Kiev’s central bank raised the benchmark discount rate from 6.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent and the overnight loan rate from 7.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent on Monday night.

“The central bank considers it necessary to take the step to increase the value of the national currency, to restrain inflation and to stabilise the situation on the money market,” the central bank said in a statement.

Foreign exchange reserves have fallen to barely two months’ import cover, and the finance ministry warned in March that it expected the economy to contract by at least 3 per cent this year.

The International Monetary Fund offered an $18bn package in late March to help Kiev face its economic crisis while it faces mounting external pressure from Russia, which has warned that it will halt gas exports to Ukraine unless it covers its unpaid bills.

David Cameron on Monday agreed to accelerate work on further possible sanctions against Russia after discussing the crisis with Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and François Hollande, French president.

But Britain remains cautious about imposing sanctions that could have an impact on the City of London’s reputation as an open global financial centre and on companies, notably BP, which have big investments in Russia.

British officials confirmed BP has warned ministers of possible repercussions if relations with Moscow deteriorate: the company has a 20 per cent stake in Rosneft, the Kremlin-controlled oil company.
Ukraine has 2 months of reserves left. Escalating sanctions will make the situation worse. IMF looting is sure to follow.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Copyright 2009 Mike Shedlock. All Rights Reserved.
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