Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Somalia twin bombings kill 18 in Mogadishu

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Arming the "good guys"?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Gun Control in the United States: Will the Florida shooting be the turning point?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Giving a voice to the homeless in France

Read more

REPORTERS

'Never Again': The students pushing for US gun control

Read more

#TECH 24

A bright future for solar power

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Winter in France's Burgundy vineyards

Read more

FOCUS

How French cyber police are patrolling the 'Dark Web'

Read more

ENCORE!

Marseille mon amour: Mediterranean city celebrates love

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

2018-02-23 Americas

'Never Again': The students pushing for US gun control

Many of the students who survived a horrific February 14 high school shooting in Florida have become activists demanding changes to US gun laws. Their campaign could well mark a...

Read more

2018-02-16 Africa

Video: Girls in Malawi victims of 'sexual cleansing' ritual

In the remote southern regions of Malawi, a violent tradition is practised on young women. Girls who reach puberty are forced to have sex with a "hyena", a man chosen by their...

Read more

2018-02-09 China

Video: The victims of China’s forced disappearances

In China, the authorities go to great lengths to control civil society, even resorting to forced disappearances. Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2013, political...

Read more

2018-02-02 Europe

Video: Crossing the Alps with Guinean migrants on a perilous journey

Since last summer, more migrants have been trying to cross the frozen plains of the Col de l'Échelle mountain pass in the Alps in a bid to reach France from Italy. In 2016 only a...

Read more

2018-01-26 France

Video: French Guiana battles with migrant influx, drug trafficking

In Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, French Guiana's second-largest city, one in three residents is foreign and often there illegally. To reach this South American region of overseas...

Read more