Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era as Volkswagen's Piech resigns

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Police beat kids in Guinea, and militias dynamite homes in Iraq

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Nepal vows not to be crippled by deadly quake

Read more

ENCORE!

Armenia, 100 years on

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Togo: Will President Faure Gnassingbe win a third 5-year term?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Controversy reigns, 100 years after Armenian genocide

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Migrant Deaths: Politicians Divided after Emergency EU Summit (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The G-Word: Turkey and the Armenian Genocide (part 1)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Nepal devastated by biggest earthquake since 1934

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2013-04-05

France's explosive picket lines

In France, more and more factories are closing. Many employees who risk losing their jobs find themselves torn between anger and despair. Our reporters went out to the picket lines and met workers willing to do anything to keep their jobs.

Sophie Bac is sure of it. "The boss thought: 'they are women and there are not many of them, the factory will be able to close easily'". Sophie, a purchasing manager for Socoval, a clothes factory in Cherbourg, risks losing her job. In the space of 15 years, the company has gone through a dozen restructuring plans. But this time, the twenty dressmakers are not going to take things lying down.

"Being told 'we are firing you and the French government will take care of you' was not acceptable for us, Sophie continues. We decided to fight back".

On March 18th, this 34-year-old and twenty of her colleagues, with an average age of 53, decided to take their boss, Eros Catalano, hostage. They locked him for two hours in the company’s offices. Since then, these angry women have been occupying their factory, day and night. They have set up their mattresses in the executives' offices.

But in just the next room, the human resources manager, unperturbed, is still working: she is drafting dismissal letters. "This is the last round of redundancies, she tells us, and this time, I'm going too."

After a 17-day-long battle, the dressmakers finally give up. On April 3rd, they decamp. All twenty-six workers are fired. "It's the end", one of them says, choking back tears.

By Christophe DANSETTE , Johan BODIN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-04-24 World War I

Saving French soldiers' WWI trench carvings

In 1914, a former underground quarry in Picardy in northern France is requisitioned by the French army. For almost four years, hundreds of soldiers were stationed there. Many...

Read more

2015-04-17 Armenia

Turkey’s hidden Armenians search for stolen identity

In 1915, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire ordered the extermination of the Armenian people. One and a half million were killed in the first genocide of the 20th century....

Read more

2015-04-10 Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: Generation Sankara

Six months after the ouster of Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso is attempting to organise its first democratic elections, set for October. Fears of a coup still loom. But from...

Read more

2015-04-03 Islam

Inside the French Islamic Organisation

Ever since the January terror attacks in Paris, debate has focussed on how well integrated France's Muslim community is. One organisation that has come under the spotlight in...

Read more

2015-03-27 Venezuela

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

For more than a year, protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government have frequently flared in the town of San Cristobal, in the western state of Tachira.

Read more