The steel plant in Fraisses, Eastern France, is just one more link in the chain of manufacturing plants in France to be hit by bossnappers. Late last week, the steel plant, owned by Swedish manufacturer Akers, was the site of four sequestered bosses, held overnight against their will, by workers who were outraged over the plant's closing.
In the last year the Akers manufacturing plant in France has seen a significant decline in the number of orders for steel pieces so as a result the plant had no choice but to layoff its 120 employees and close up shop. When word of the layoffs, due to the financial crisis, hit these workers, they responded by locking up 4 key executives-Two human resource directors, the Director of the Fraisses Plant, and the Director of Akers in the country of France. While the directors were held against their will they were given food and water and it was a non-violent napping because the worst pain they suffered was being repeatedly woken throughout the night. After a day in captivity, the enraged workers attempted to initiate talks again with the directors, but to no avail. As Benoit Bourg, the Director of Human Resources at the Fraisses Plant said, "the company has offered workers all that it can," citing the downturn of the global steel market as the culprit driving the closures at the French Akers plant and others throughout Europe.
Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands
Recent polls in France show that as much as half of the population there believes that workers are justified in taking bosses and key executives captive in order to gain better severance or layoff packages in these trying financial times.
Apparently there is something effective about this tactic of bossnapping because back in late April staff at the plant owned by British glue maker Scapa, were able to "come to a compromise on the layoff packages,' said Jean-Jacques Van Slambrouck from the company's workers' council " where executives agreed to nearly double workers severance packages.
Let's hope that bossnapping does not replace negotiations in the future and that this is just a flash in the French frying pan of manufacturing plants.