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Unemployment up 80,000 as another boss taken hostage

Article published on the 2009-03-25 Latest update 2009-03-25 11:49 TU

Laurence Parisot, the head of France's employer's body(Photo: Reuters)

Laurence Parisot, the head of France's employer's body
(Photo: Reuters)

French media reported Wednesday that unemployment increased in February. According to the LCI radio station, figures due to be announced later Wednesday will show 80,000 extra people signing on as unemployed for the month. Some soon-to be-unemployed workers took their boss hostage on Tuesday as negotiations collapsed.

On Tuesday afternoon workers in a factory in France's Loiret department took their manager, Luc Rousselet, hostage. He had come to the factory to discuss redundancies and was kept in his office by around 20 workers.

Rousselet runs a 3M pharmaceuticals factory which is laying off 100 of its 235 workers. The US group 3M employs around 2,600 people in France. Talks overnight broke down at around three in the morning over the question of the payment of strike time.

The redundancies are expected to come into effect between now and September and the factory's workers have been on strike since 20 March. Unions are seeking greater redundancy payments and extra benefits for the workers.

Earlier this month workers at a Sony factory in the Landes department held Sony France boss Serge Foucher for one night. The workers were demanding the same treatment as other laid-off French Sony workers.

Meanwhile, controversy rages over hefty bonuses paid to bosses of companies receiving government aid.

"Handing out bonuses in a company which is declaring redundancies or receiving state aid is not responsible and not honest," President Nicolas Sartkozy declared in a speech in the Paris region on Tuesday.

He was responding to the announcement of a golden handshake of 3.2 million euros for Thierry Morin, the CEO of the Valeo group, and stock options handed out at Société Générale.

According to the newspaper Libération, the Crédit Agricole bank will pay out 51 million euros to white-collar workers in the Chevreux region, while sacking 75 workers in Europe.