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French workers take over factory

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I thought O'reily. Hannity. Lush, etc. claimed the French were a bunch of sissies.:lol:


March 31, 2009 -- Updated 1755 GMT (0155 HKT)

PARIS, France (CNN) -- Hundreds of French workers, angry about proposed layoffs at a Caterpillar factory, were holding executives of the company hostage Tuesday, a spokesman for the workers said.

Caterpillar's French staff say they are angry about a lack of negotiations over layoffs.

It is at least the third time this month that French workers threatened with cutbacks have blockaded managers in their offices to demand negotiations. Executives were released unharmed in both previous situations.

The latest incident started Tuesday morning at the office of the construction equipment company in the southeastern city of Grenoble.

The workers were angry that Caterpillar had proposed cutting more than 700 jobs and would not negotiate, said Nicolas Benoit, a spokesman for the workers' union.

They did not want to harm the Caterpillar executives, Benoit told CNN.

One hostage was released Tuesday evening leaving workers with four captives inside the Caterpillar building.

The released man was a human resources director identified only as Mr. Petit, because he has heart problems, union representative Bernard Patrick told CNN. Petit had a heart attack a few weeks ago, Patrick said.

The four others still being held are Nicolas Polutnik, the head of operations; two other executives; and Petit's personal assistant, he said.

About 500 employees were also outside the building protesting.

A top Caterpillar executive called the hostage-taking unhelpful.

"The actions that are taking place today, led by a small minority of individuals, are not helping as we work for a positive resolution of this situation," said Chris Schena, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for manufacturing operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, in a statement.

"The best way to resolve this matter is to continue the negotiations through the Works Council to find a solution that's fair to our employees and allows Caterpillar to remain a leader in a rapidly changing global marketplace," Schena said, adding that the company was "concerned for the safety of our employees."

Benoit said all the workers wanted to do was negotiate with Caterpillar and they were upset that the company did not show up to two earlier scheduled negotiating sessions.

The employees being held in their office were being allowed to get food, Benoit added.

Police arrived at the scene two hours after the incident began but it had not been settled.

Employees at a French 3M factory held a manager hostage for more than 24 hours Wednesday and Thursday of last week over a dispute about terms for laid-off staff.

Luc Rousselet, who was unharmed, was allowed to leave the plant in Pithiviers, central France, early on Thursday morning after talks between unions and officials from 3M France.

Earlier this month, the boss of Sony France was held overnight before workers freed him after he agreed to reopen talks on compensation when the factory closed.

France has been hit by nationwide strikes twice in the past two months. E-mail to a friend | Mixx it | Share

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France has been hit by nationwide strikes twice in the past two months.

I think this is the rule rather than the exception over there. The same thing was going on a couple of years ago when I was over there. People were setting cars on fire ... all kinds of fun stuff. :roll:

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I work for a French company. It is a nightmare when these things occur. Partially because of the status of French labor, my company is consolidating operations in the U.S. It is hard to run a global company when the brain of the operations is being held hostage by a bunch of thankless brats.

They should prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. This type of unrest is disturbing and illegal. I worked an 18 hour day on Monday. It doesn't give me the right to take my boss hostage and demand a pay increase!

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They should prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. This type of unrest is disturbing and illegal.

Now, wait a second there!

This type of unrest is disturbing, but under French law is it truly illegal?

The French seem to strike ALOT (like, isn't this the 10th time in the past 12 months to make American news?), but there is never a word of consequences.

I don't know French law, but applying American ideals to France, which is a mainly socialist country, just doesn't work.

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The French people take to the streets and demonstrate in all manner of ways all the time. That's why they have the social services and labor laws that they have.

Hostage taking is disturbing and should be prosecuted under french law, but the general "unrest" itself doesn't bother me.

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Almost half of French say kidnapping bosses OK!


Almost half of French approve of locking up bosses

Tue Apr 7, 2009 10:47am EDT Email | Print | Share | Reprints | Single Page [-] Text [+]

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PARIS (Reuters) - Almost half of French people believe it is acceptable for workers facing layoffs to lock up their bosses, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.

Staff at French plants run by Sony, 3M and Caterpillar have held managers inside the factories overnight, in three separate incidents, to demand better layoff terms -- a new form of labor action dubbed "bossnapping" by the media.

A poll by the CSA institute for Le Parisien newspaper found 50 percent of French people surveyed disapproved of such acts, but 45 percent thought they were acceptable.

"They are not in the majority ... but 45 percent is an enormous percentage and it demonstrates the extent of exasperation among the public at this time of economic crisis," Le Parisien said.

On March 31, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault was trapped in a taxi in Paris for an hour by staff from his PPR luxury and retail group who were angry about layoffs. Riot police intervened to free him.

Le Parisien found that 56 percent of blue-collar workers polled approved of bossnappings while 41 percent disapproved. Among white-collar workers, 59 percent were against the practice while 40 percent thought it was acceptable.

"These hostage takings, we know how it starts but no one knows how far it can go," said Xavier Bertrand, a former labor minister now secretary-general of the ruling UMP party.

"Our country must avoid entering a spiral of violence," he said in reaction to the opinion poll, adding that bossnappings "cannot be tolerated."

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Farah Mas

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