Angry French workers booby-trap factory, trash machines and threaten to blow the place up

French workers are renowned for their extreme protests and a group of employees whose jobs are threatened at a factory in central France have proved it once again by destroying equipment and threatening to blow up the plant.

Angry French workers booby-trap factory, trash machines and threaten to blow the place up
Workers destroy equipment at the factory. Photo: AFP

The workers at GM&S auto-suppliers plant in the Creuse department of central France have sent a message to bosses and car giants Renault and Peugeot by threatening to blow up their factory.

Around 280 jobs are on the line at the plant, north of Limoges, that went into receivership in December.

According to trade union representatives the employees have started destroying their factory equipment and say they will trash a machine each day until their demands are met.

But more worrying is that they say they have booby-trapped the site with gas canisters and cans of petrol.

Images posted on Twitter showed gas canisters strung up to a huge tank of “liquid oxygen”. The words “we are going to blow everything up” (on va tout péter) were scrawled on the site of a giant liquid air tank.

Twitter images also showed workers cutting a machine in half with a blow torch.

Workers are particularly angry at Renault and Peugeot whom they accuse of blocking negotiations for a takeover of the site and of giving too few orders.

“We refuse to be taken for a ride anymore,” union rep Vincent Labrousse told AFP.  

“We have been fighting for six months and we are sorry to get to this point but at the moment there is a threat of liquidation and if that happens then the factory will not be returned in one piece,” he said.

Workers want new French president Emmanuel Macron to intervene and take up the case.

The radical action will not surprise those who have followed workers protests in France through the years.

In September 2015 striking French ferry workers trashed their vessels before they were sold on to Eurotunnel.

Every single seat was slashed with a box knife. The ships were stripped of fridges, televisions and equipment.

The link below shows the kind of measures workers in France are prepared to take when their jobs are threatened.

IN PICTURES: 15 crazy French protests you'll find hard to believe


French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.