Protesting Korean auto workers camp in Paris

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Korean auto workers camping for weeks outside the offices of French parts supplier Valeo on Thursday pressed demands for talks with bosses over the closure of a South Korean plant.

"We have had no contact with the management for two weeks," said Kim Junghee of the Korean Metal Workers Union, representing workers from the Valeo factory in Cheonan, South Korea.

"We have only received a negative reply to our letters demanding a meeting," Junghee said outside Valeo's Paris headquarters, where protestors have been camped under tarpaulins, with food supplies and cooking equipment, for 18 days.

Six of them came to France, taking turns at least two at a time day and night to man the protest camp.

The company closed the Cheonan factory in September.

Valeo spokeswoman Kate Philips said it fired about 100 workers who did not accept its redundancy package with a month's notice, according to South Korean law.

"The closure is irreversible and as far as the terms of the closure and redundancy payments are concerned, the people to talk to are in Korea," she told AFP.

Michel Ducret of the French CGT union representing metalworkers, supporting the protest, said it was the third time the Koreans had come over to protest since December.

© 2010 AFP

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