Viva la Revolution! Incensed French Workers Take Their Bosses Hostage

April 1, 2009

Storming the Bastille(ChattahBox)-As the global recession hit the French economy with nearly two million job losses and “redundancies,” angry French workers are resorting to staging workplace coup d’états, barricading their bosses inside company offices, only to let them out when the managers agree to the worker’s demands for better layoff terms. These “boss-knappings” are on the rise in France, as workplace labor councils with strong negotiating powers, strict laws protecting worker’s jobs and French police (gendarmes) reluctant to get involved, fuel a kind of revolutionary atmosphere when layoffs are announced.

The most recent boss-knapping occurred on Tuesday of this week at a Caterpillar Inc. plant in the town of Grenoble, when angry workers, after being told the company was planning to lay off 700 workers, surrounded four managers and herded them into an office where they were forced to spend the night. The managers were released the next afternoon.

Workers took turns during the night, guarding the office door to prevent an escape. One of the workers on the labor council said “”We are holding them in the director’s office and we are in the process of talking to them so that they create a company committee to unblock negotiations.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a move to show solidarity with his country’s workers said today, “I will save the site.” The problem is, the French Caterpillar plant isn’t closing but no matter, the French president’s approval rating fell 36 percent since the recession hit France so badly, and he is anxious to raise it.

In March, irate fired workers locked up two senior managers of Sony France in a conference room overnight. The enraged workers also barricaded the factory exits with tree trunks and branches.

In February, an angry mob of workers, after learning the owner of a car parts company was re-locating the factory to Slovakia, “captured” their British boss, Mike Bacon and locked him in the factory for two days. The workers fed Bacon and escorted him out of his office for bathroom breaks.

When the local gendarmes showed up to investigate, they told the workers they could hold their boss hostage if he “consented.” The workers promptly ‘asked” their boss for consent, acknowledging he didn’t consent agreeably.

After two days of detention, the mob of workers herded their boss, before a judge, who liquidated the company. The “revolutionary” workers were hailed as heroes for their fight against “Anglo-Saxon” free-trade ideas.” Bacon is now in Slovakia and was told by French officials that returning to the town of his former plant wouldn’t be such a good idea.

French managers can expect more worker “pitchfork” revolts and hostage taking, as companies are forced to reduce work forces as the recession worsens. French bosses might want to prepare an escape route in advance, or resign themselves to spending a night or two on their office couch.



One Response to “Viva la Revolution! Incensed French Workers Take Their Bosses Hostage”

  1. Vive La Revolution! French Union Workers Plan to Blow up Factory | ChattahBox News Blog on July 14th, 2009 9:58 am

    […] spring as the recession hit and layoffs increased, numerous workers kidnapped their bosses, holding them hostage until their demands were met for greater redundancy payments. The […]

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