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Revolting French workers bite 3M's balles

Barricaded boss protest secures extra cash

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French 3M workers, who on Tuesday barricaded their boss in an office in protest at jobs cuts, have released their prisoner following successful negotiations to secure more cash for redundancy packages.

3M decided to shed 110 jobs at the pharmaceutical products plant at Pithiviers, near Orleans, due to falling demand. The plan cost industrial director Luc Rousselet more than a day confined behind a wardrobe by employees demanding "more money for departing staff, guarantees for those remaining and salary payment for those who had gone on strike over the redundancy plan".

Union rep Jean-Francois Caparros insisted the captive would remain confined to quarters until staff had "a commitment from 3M that they will increase pay-packets and are ready to discuss our conditions for negotiations".

During his ordeal, Rousselet told Reuters: "These people have more to complain about than me and I knew there was this risk when I came here."

Happily, AFP now reports that after hours of wrangling around the negotiating table, the two sides have reached an accord. Caparros said: "We have an agreement with 3M to provide funds to respond to our demands." ®

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