French workers’ victory

This video says about itself:

Striking French employees of struggling Canadian telecommunications firm Nortel have set up a dozen cannisters of natural gas at their work site, and several have suggested they may blow up the premises if their demands for compensation are not met. Nortel’s French subsidiary has declared bankruptcy and is laying off most of its 683 workers. Images and soundbites of the protest.

From libcom:

French ‘explosion-threat’ workers win redundancy pay

Submitted by Ed on Jul 18 2009

A group of French workers facing layoffs obtained extra money after threatening to blow up industrial equipment at their plant, labor union representatives said on Friday. Meanwhile, workers at two other companies continue their their threats to blow up their workplaces.

The workers, at JLG, a manufacturing company, were the third in France to make similar threats this month, after workers from Nortel, the telecommunications equipment maker, and New Fabris, a car parts maker.

JLG workers at three plants in southwestern France had been on strike for three weeks over a management plan to lay off 53 of them. After hearing news of the threats made at Nortel and New Fabris, they followed suit.

On Wednesday, the JLG workers placed four of the company’s products — large platform cranes with a total value estimated at $352,400 — in a car park and surrounded them with gas cylinders and kindling.

After talks that lasted well into Thursday night, management met their demand that laid-off workers receive 30,000 euros, or about $42,300, in compensation, and the strikers removed the gas cylinders and returned the cranes to the factory, said Christian Amadio, a JLG worker representative.

At Nortel, talks with management resumed, while workers at New Fabris are still threatening to blow up their factory. New Fabris workers have given a 31st July deadline for Renault and Peugeot, which provided 90% of the plant’s work, to pay them 30,000 euros each.

Such threats signal a new escalation in tactics used by disgruntled French workers after episodes in which managers were detained by employees on company premises.

Authorities have used tough language to denounce such actions but have refrained from sending in the police to break up protests. France has a history of labor unrest, and the government wants to avoid an escalation of violence.

See also here.

Staff at a Michelin plant in France have released bosses who they detained overnight after a worker was punished for refusing to use machinery that he wasn’t trained on: here.

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