Managers freed in latest French 'bossnapping'

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Workers at FM Logistics detained five managers for a day in an attempt to force the company to improve their redundancy package.

METZ – Workers at a French logistics firm detained five managers Thursday in a bid to force the company to improve their redundancy package, before releasing them in the evening, a union source said.

In the latest outbreak of the "bossnapping" wave that has swept across France in recent weeks, dozens of workers at FM Logistic in the northeastern town of Woippy were holding their superiors in a company meeting room.

"Judging the (redundancy) measures insufficient, around 125 workers decided to apply pressure" by blocking the door of the meeting room, said Bruno Damien of the CFE-CGC trade union.

The workers had initially wanted to detain four male managers overnight after releasing a female manager. They also called for intervention by people with "decision-making powers" on Friday.

FM Logistic is planning to move some of its activities to Malaysia by 2010, which will mean the loss of 489 jobs at Woippy and the closure of the site.

The management said the executives were not being held hostage, and were being allowed to visit the bathroom and eat.

A number of managers in France have been held hostage overnight by workers in recent weeks over planned job cuts. In each case, they have been released unharmed, often after a promise to restart negotiations.

The country's main lobby for small business last week urged President Nicolas Sarkozy to take action to put an end to such "bossnappings."

Polls show that up to half of French people believe workers are justified in taking executives captive to seek better redundancy packages during the economic crisis.

AFP / Expatica

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