French Auto Workers Threaten To Blow Up Factory

By Michelle Krebs July 16, 2009

French auto workers make North American ones look like wimps.

The Associated Press reports workers laid off from a company that makes auto parts from French automakers Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroen were huddling around gas canisters tied to an electrical cable Thursday, threatening to blow up a factory in protest of cost-cutting during the economic downturn.

Partsmaker New Fabris near Chatellerault closed June 16 and all of its 366 workers are gradually being laid off as Renault and Peugeot-Citroen slow vehicle production and cancel parts orders.

Upon learning of the plant closure, workers immediately began protesting, culminating in about 200 of them threatening to blow up the plant and demanding each worker receive roughly $43,000 from Renault and Peugeot-Citroen, which, they claim, killed their livelihoods, the wire service reported.

If workers don't get the cash by July 31, they say they will indeed blow up the plant. In the meantime, they are taking turns guarding 20 canisters of acetylene and butane around the plant and attached by a cable.

Workers were meeting with Renault executives on Thursday; They met with Peugeot-Citroen last week.

In other examples of extreme French resistance to cost-cutting, other workers recently have kidnapped their bosses, blocked ports and barricaded factories to try to save jobs in France's worst recession since the 1940s, the Associated Press reported.

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fulcrumb says: 11:09 AM, 07.17.09

his in a country where the work week is 34-37 hours, vacation time averages six weeks plus holidays and sick days. How would they know when they are being laid off?

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