Hostage Situation: Sony chiefs held for 18 hours by French


Now thats the way to do it?

MILITANT workers held Sony's French chief executive hostage for 18 hours after he visited their factory to tell them they were all losing their jobs.

Staff grabbed Serge Foucher and other senior managers, including Roland Bentz, the head of human resources, after they arrived at the plant in Bordeaux in south-west France to announce the lay-offs yesterday.

The executives, who were visiting fromADVERTISEMENTSony's Paris headquarters, were held in a locked office overnight while workers blocked the road to the site with tree trunks.

Local officials persuaded staff to release the managers at 10:30am yesterday, and invited them to talks on the redundancies at a nearby council building.

An unnamed Sony worker told French media before the release: "They are being given food and drink and access to the bathrooms, but they slept on the floor in their suits."

A police spokesman said: "The executives were all a bit the worse for wear after a difficult night, but no-one was hurt and the stand-off ended peacefully.

"It is not yet known if any of those held will be wanting to press charges."

The drama erupted after Sony first announced it could save jobs at the plant by converting it to make solar panels rather than magnetic components, including tape, then dropped the plan and told the workers that they would be laid off. The factory in Pontonx-sur-L'Adour, which has 311 staff, is due to shut down on 17 April.

Patrick Achauger, a union leader, said the workers had resorted to the drastic action in a last-ditch attempt to save their jobs.

He added: "They have told us we are all going to be sacked and offered us one month of salary for every year worked, but nothing for years worked after the age of 55.

"We demand to be treated with more respect, and we need a much better financial offer.

"Local officials persuaded us to release our bosses and continue with supervised negotiations at a council building.

"This time we hope they listen to our concerns properly."

The move is the latest clash between unions and management in France, which is being hit by a wave of factory closures and big lay-offs because of the global economic downturn.

Workers at a Continental tyre plant in northern France hurled eggs at managers yesterday to protest against the loss of 1,200 jobs with the closure of the factory by the German car parts group .

Sony announced in December that it intended to cut 8,000 jobs, or 4 per cent of its global work force, including those at the plant in France.


Book Reviewer
didnt things get a bit ugly over here between the workers and the union reps at the Mini plant when they got laid off? I heard one commentator say the union bods were lucky there wasnt a lynching.

you have to admire the french in some ways - they told that half wit dubya where to get off with his little spot of adventuring in the middle east, and trouble with mouthy chavs on sink estates? fcuk 'em, send in the riot cops.
plus I'd love to see the incontinent cyclops and his cronies getting put in the Bastille...


Yes, dubya (I had to look that up) promised the USA UK relationship nonsense was historic destiny, Cousins etc. Now the French are the good guys for doing exactly the opposite to what the Yanks were pressing for. Short memeories in this world. Very short...So what... Lets be friends with bankers this week.....

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