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French pharmaceutical workers release hostage boss

Article published on the 2009-03-26 Latest update 2009-03-26 11:45 TU

A 3M building(Photo: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>)

A 3M building

Employees of a French pharmaceutical plant of the US company 3M released their manager, Luc Rousselet, Thursday after reaching a deal on staff lay-offs. The striking employees held Rousselet over 24 hours. He was allowed to leave the factory in Pithiviers, central France, right after midnight, following hours of negotiations between union leaders and company management, mediated by local politicians.

“We have an agreement from 3M to provide the means to meet our demands,” said union representative Jean-François Caparros.

“Negotiations will resume, which is good,” said Rousselet, as he came out of the room. “This will allow us to get out of this deadlock. I am happy for the Pithiviers employees. I know this is a very difficult lay-off plan for them."

Employees at the plant have been on strike since 20 March. They are protesting announced layoffs of 110 of the factory’s 235 employees.

Unions are demanding a special 5,000-euro bonus for 40 people who will be moved to another plant, and compensation of two to three years of pay for laid-off workers.