From British daily The Morning Star:
French workers hold another boss hostage
Wednesday 25 March 2009
FRENCH workers at a factory owned by US corporation 3M have held a boss hostage overnight after he announced that half of the workforce faced the chop.
The factory at Pithiviers, which produces pharmaceutical products, currently employs 235 people. When 3M French operations director Luc Rousselet revealed on Tuesday evening that 110 of these jobs were to be shed this year due to falling orders and another 40 were to be shifted to another plant, about 20 staff barricaded him in an office.
They were demanding better severance packages for those being laid off and better working conditions for those who keep their jobs.
The workforce has been on strike since Friday.
Force Ouvriere union representative Jean-Francois Caparros said: “Until we have a commitment from 3M that they will increase pay packets and are ready to discuss our conditions for negotiations, then Mr Rousselet will have to remain here.
“If he wants to involve the police, then he will have to send for them, but it is out of the question that he leaves without discussing our conditions,” Mr Caparros declared.
“We will go to the end to get what we deserve.”
Locking up bosses is becoming a tradition in French industrial disputes, with police often unwilling to intervene in order to avoid violence.
Earlier this month, employees at a Sony factory in south-west France held the chief executive and human resources director of the Japanese group’s French arm overnight and eventually secured improved terms for workers facing the sack.