Tuesday, 7 January 2014

French Goodyear Workers Take Managers Hostage to Get Higher Severance Packages

Negotiations between management and employees over layoffs can be heated sometimes, but in France, this type of intense discussions can even lead to “boss-napping.”

That is the term coined for a phenomenon that has become commonplace in France since the onset of the financial crisis: employees taking the managers hostage as a negotiating leverage.

It happened again on Monday, when trade union members at Goodyear’s tyre plant in Amiens, northern France, took two of their managers hostage in a pay-related dispute. The CGT workers’ union said they had detained factory director Michel Dheilly and human resources director Bernard Glesser after failing to agree terms with management over the proposed closure of the Amiens plant.

“It was no longer possible to keep fighting for our jobs. So we decided to change tactics and fight for the largest compensation possible,” union president Mickael Wamen told local media. The two managers have been locked in a room at the plant, with union members saying they will keep them hostage until Goodyear provides guarantees over pay bonuses and severance packages.

Goodyear condemned the union’s action in a statement. “This kind of initiative, always to be condemned, is especially inopportune and counterproductive at a time when we should concentrate on the future of employees affected by the restructuring, after several years looking for a solution.”

Boss-napping has become commonplace in France since 2009, with employees at Caterpillar, 3M and Sony taking their managers hostage asking for higher severance packages and fewer job cuts.

By Dan Mihalascu

Story References: Financial Times



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