French auto workers drop blast threat

21st July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Workers at a bankrupt French car parts factory dropped a threat to blow up the plant unless they get a lay-off settlement.

Chatellerault – Workers at a bankrupt French car parts factory Monday dropped a threat to blow up the plant unless they get a lay-off settlement from their former clients Renault and Peugeot.

Around 100 workers voted to remove a ring of gas canisters from the plant in central-eastern Chatellerault, which they have occupied since their employer New Fabris was declared bankrupt on 16 June.

The workers were threatening to blow up the factory and its stock of parts on 31 July unless Renault and PSA-Peugeot -- who accounted for 90 percent of their business -- paid EUR 30,000 to each of the 366 laid-off employees.

Both carmakers have said it is not their responsibility to pay compensation to their supplier's staff.

French Industry Minister Christian Estrosi agreed to open talks with a delegation of workers, but only on condition they dropped their threats.

The New Fabris threats sparked two copycat incidents last week, as laid-off workers at other firms sought to grab the media spotlight.

US construction equipment maker Oshkosh agreed to pay extra redundancy money to workers at a French branch, JLG Industries, after they warned they would blow up gas canisters at the plant.

Laid-off workers at telecoms firm Nortel Networks near Paris also briefly threatened to blow up their factory in a dispute over redundancy pay, before backing down the following day.

The blast threats follow a wave of "bossnappings" in which French workers took their managers hostage as bargaining chips in negotiations over factory closures.

The French government raised the tone over the radical tactics last week, accusing the workers of "blackmail," but stopped short of sending in police.

AFP / Expatica

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