French Workers Hold Managers at Caterpillar

March 31, 2009
The factory director is being held along with the human resources director, the head of personnel and two managers.

French workers on March 31 detained five managers at a plant run by Caterpillar to protest plans to slash hundreds of jobs, in the latest of a string of "bossnapping" cases.

Employees barricaded their bosses in a management office at around 10:30 am to demand new negotiations on laying off 733 workers at the factory in the southern city of Grenoble. "We are holding them in the director's office," union official Benoit Nicolas said. "They are a little stunned."

Factory director Nicolas Polutnick was being held along with the human resources director, the head of personnel and two managers, but Nicolas said they would not be detained for long. "We do plan to let them go," he said, adding that he believed a deal was within reach.

Caterpillar workers were on strike for a second day on March 31 at two plants that produce construction equipment engines in the Grenoble region. Some 2,500 people are employed at the factories. The workers were demanding a minimum of 30,000 euros (US$39,000) in severance pay, said Nicolas.

It was the third time in March that executives had been held by French workers outraged at job losses sparked by the global economic crisis.

A manager of a factory run by 3M was held for more than 24 hours last week and the boss of Sony France was detained overnight on March 12 by workers seeking better redundancy packages.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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