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Sony France CEO released after workers held him overnight

Article published on the 2009-03-13 Latest update 2009-03-13 16:56 TU

Sony headquarters in Tokyo.(Photo: Reuters)

Sony headquarters in Tokyo.
(Photo: Reuters)

Workers at the Sony France factory held hostage their boss hostage, to protest the size of their redundancy packages. CEO Serge Foucherwas released Friday and ushered away to immediately revive negotiations with labour officials.

"I am happy to be free and to see the light of day again," said Foucher, once he was released from the Sony plant in Pontonx-sur-l'Adour in south-west France.

In December the Japanese electronics giant announced the factory would close.

Foucher met with more than 300 workers on Thursday for the final time before the site's closure on 17 April.

But the courtesy visit turned sour when the workers stopped him from leaving by barricading the doors with tree trunks, to protest that their severance packages are smaller than at other Sony plants in France.

A union representative told the AFP news agency that Foucher was held in a meeting room overnight, and that police officers were present outside the site but resisted intervening for fear of inflaming the situation.

Foucher was released on condition he enter negotiations with union leaders and the state’s regional representative. A meeting was expected in the nearby town of Dax.

The Pontonx-sur-l'Adour factory has specialised in manufacturing videotapes since 1984.