• France's news in English

Paris Opera union rep racks up €52k phone bill planning strike

The Local · 29 Oct 2015, 16:56

Published: 29 Oct 2015 16:56 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
You've heard the one about the French union chief splashing out  €1,400 on a new loo seat?
And then the one about the head of France's National Audiovisual Institute spending €40,000 on taxi bills for her and son?
Now there's the story of the union rep from Paris Opera who built up a €52,000 phone bill organising a strike when he was on holiday.
Many have been stung by data roaming charges - but few can claim a bill as big as this. 
A Frenchman from the Paris Opera - a public establishment - saw a €52,000 bill after returning from his holiday in Spain this summer, reported Le Parisien newspaper
The Opera House released a statement saying that the phone company confirmed that the bill was a result of an "over consumption of data".
The phone user said he had never been alerted to the fact that he was racking up thousands of euros worth of charges, and disputed that he had over-used the phone.
In fact, the holiday maker told the paper that he hadn't streamed any music, nor downloaded any films, but had just used the phone for sending messages, making calls, and updating the website of the FSU union, to spread the news of planned industrial action.
He added that just before he left on holiday, the union had launched plans to hold a strike, a message he said "had to be relayed".
It remains unknown exactly what data was recorded as being used, but the Opera has launched an investigation to find if there is a way to get around paying the bill.
Stories like this will soon be a thing of the past, after members of the European Parliament voted on Tuesday to scrap EU roaming charges. However, the changes won't come into force until June 2017.
Unexpectedly large bills have made headlines in France as recently as in April this year, when Agnès Saal, the head of France's National Audiovisual Institute, resigned after she built up €40,000 worth of taxi bills in just ten months.
Story continues below…
And Thierry Lepaon, the head of France’s most powerful union, the leftist CGT, was bogged down in November by a scandal over the €130,000 he spent to revamp his plush flat in the Paris suburb of Vincennes.
The renovation included a new €1,397 lavatory seat and a €700 loo roll holder and towel rack.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available