Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 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

2014-07-18 Hong Kong

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

In 1997 Hong Kong was proud to re-establish its Chinese identity after more than 150 years under British colonisation. But the atmosphere has changed and Hong Kong is now in open...

Read more

2014-07-11 Pakistan

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attack, questions have been asked about the tactics used in former US president George W. Bush's "War on Terror". Extraordinary rendition saw many...

Read more

2014-07-04 Italy

Italy: Toxic Naples

Industrial sludge, all kinds of garbage and even nuclear waste... For years, organised crime dumped millions of tons of toxic waste on the outskirts of Naples. This contamination...

Read more

2014-06-27 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Old wounds reopened in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s Good Friday agreement, signed in April 1998, put an end to thirty years of conflict between Nationalists and Republicans. Since its signature, traditional...

Read more

2014-06-20 refugees

Syria’s Armenians: Fleeing war for new hardship in their ancestral land

With the war, thousands of Armenians who have lived in Syria for several generations, mainly in Aleppo, have sought refuge in Armenia. But for many of them, returning to the land...

Read more