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Latest update : 2009-04-10

Fears of "bossnapping" in a Fiat dealership in Brussels proved unfounded on Thursday. Three managers had shut themselves in an office for several hours to avoid negotiating with employees over their job cuts. They left unhindered.

AFP - Three Fiat managers walked unhindered out of a Brussels dealership on Thursday after shutting themselves in an office to avoid negotiations over job cuts and triggering "bossnapping" fears.

The three managers left in the early evening without saying a word to staff or reporters who had gathered at the dealership in central Brussels, ending the standoff which lasted several hours.

One of the managers, Giuseppe Farrinazzi, had come specially from Fiat's Turin headquarters to organise the lay-off of 24 workers.

The drama began as tensions rose between staff and management and Farrinazzi shut himself with two other managers in an office.

Company officials said that workers were preventing Farrinazzi from leaving for Italy without negotiations on the lay-offs.

One official at Fiat in Turin said that the managers had been taken hostage and shut in the office "like in France" after a recent series of so-called bossnappings in the country by workers disgruntled over jobs cuts.

However, at the site there was no apparent tensions and police were not present as workers waited in the hall for the managers to come out of the office.

"Management didn't want to negotiate and find a solution to the job cuts," said union representative Emanuele Agostini.

"They told us they don't have money... staff are tired of hearing there isn't money and want a plan with fair departure conditions."

Date created : 2009-04-10