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France

Distressed Molex workers end 'bossnappings'

Latest update : 2009-04-21

Workers at a Molex factory in the town of Villemur-sur-Tarne, in the south-west of France, have agreed to free two managers held captive in protest against plans to shut the US-owned electronic equipment plant, which employs 283 workers.

REUTERS- Factory staff in southwestern France freed two managers on Tuesday more than 24 hours after detaining them to protest against their site's closure -- the latest in a spate of "bossnappings".

 

As order books shrivel in the global economic downturn, companies have sought to close sites across France to reduce costs. French workers have fought back by detaining bosses to secure better severance packages.

 

Staff at a factory run by U.S. electronic components maker Molex held two managers overnight and all day on Tuesday before finally agreeing to let them go. They were booed as they left the plant by car.

 

"The two managers are free ... We are all on our way to the prefecture in Toulouse to negotiate," Denis Parize, a worker representative from the CFDT union, told Reuters by telephone.

 

The incident follows similar moves by workers at electronics firm Sony, bulldozer firm Caterpillar and Post-it maker 3M.

 

Molex has announced it will shut the plant in the town of Villemur-sur-Tarn, near Toulouse, in June because it is not profitable enough. The plant employs 283 workers.

 

Union representatives held talks on Tuesday with local authorities in an attempt to find a compromise but the detained bosses -- manager Marcus Kerriou and human resources director Coline Colboc -- refused to negotiate while they were locked up.

 

Tensions rose at the site when the company launched legal action against the head of a body representing employees for detaining the two managers. After discussion, the siege of the site was lifted.

 

Police were present throughout but did not intervene. Security forces have appeared reluctant to intervene in similar cases for fear of violence.

 

Date created : 2009-04-21