Workers at French Renault plant held bosses hostage for 12 hours in sale dispute

Workers at a Renault car parts factory in northwest France held seven managers against their will for some 12 hours on Tuesday in an attempt to prevent the plant being sold, the company and union reps said.

Workers at French Renault plant held bosses hostage for 12 hours in sale dispute
The Renault plant has been at the centre of a long-running dispute. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The move was the latest in a long line of so-called “boss-napping” incidents in which executives are prevented from going home by French trade union activists as part of strong-arm negotiating tactics.

READ ALSO Why are French workers so fond of kidnapping their bosses?

The latest clash occurred at the Fonderie de Bretagne, a foundry near the town of Lorient that has been put up sale by Renault.

The car maker “strongly condemned” the detention of seven local managers on Tuesday morning, calling for them to be allowed to leave.

The managers were released at around 10.30 pm, union rep Mael Le Goff from the hard-left CGT union told AFP on Tuesday.

“They still didn’t want to have a dialogue so it was pointless trying to talk to people who don’t want to engage,” Le Goff said.

Renault said it was trying to find a buyer for the factory, which employs 350 people, in order to “maintain activity at the site and safeguard jobs.”

While managers at the Renault foundry have been freed, it remains closed and picketed by workers who are demanding that the global car giant put an end to its plans to sell the site.

“We are still waiting for progress with this issue,” union rep Le Goff said. “It’s been going on for a year, it’s exhausting.”

Member comments

  1. So why doesn’t the Union buy it or the workers club together to buy it. Could it be they know that it’s not profitable.

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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.