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Workers at a French subsidiary of US firm Molex have detained two bosses in protest at plans to close the plant in south-east France.

Molex Automotive announced in October they were planning to close the plant and relocate its work to China and the US.

But workers ‘discovered that Molex officials planned and organised the closing of the plant at Villemur-sur-Tarn long before the October announcement to employees,’ said Jean-Marc Denjean, a lawyer for the employees.
Some 300 workers will lose their jobs when the plant, which manufactures electrical connectors, ceases production on June 30.

Trade union representative Guy Pavan said: ‘Officials premeditated their move for months and lied to us,’ adding that the workers intended to save their jobs and keep the equipment should the company leave.

He said that about 100 workers entered a room at the company where workers and managers were meeting on Monday.

They demanded that plant director Philippe Fort leave, then detained co-director Marcus Kerriou and human resources director Coline Colboc.
The company said in a statement the factory was functioning at only 30 per cent of its capacity.
‘If production remains insufficient, we have no choice. The alert level has been reached,’ the firm said.

It was not clear how long the employees planned to keep the two directors.

Kidnapping bosses, while not a new tactic in France, is being increasingly used as a negotiating tool in the current economic crisis. None of those held have been mistreated.

Workers at Hewlett-Packard subsidiary FM Logistic in eastern France held five bosses for 10 hours last week, in protest at plans to cut 483 jobs from June.

Some polls in France have revealed that up to half of French people believe such measures are justifiable for workers seeking a better redundancy package during the economic crisis.

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