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French car parts workers threaten to blow up factory

world Updated: Jul 12, 2009 21:30 IST
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Workers at a bankrupt French car parts supplier are threatening to blow up their factory unless carmakers Renault and PSA-Peugeot pay them compensation, a union official said on Sunday.

The 366 employees of New Fabris in central-eastern Chatellerault, are occupying the plant to demand that the auto giants - who accounted for 90 per cent of their business - pay 30,000 euros (42,000 dollars) to each worker.

"The gas bottles are in the factory. Everything has been planned for it to blow up," unless there is an accord by July 31, Guy Eyermann, CGT union official and secretary of the company works council, told AFP.

The Chatellerault factory is thought to house car parts worth some two million euros, as well as a new Renault machine estimated at a further two million, the union leader said.

"We are not going to let PSA and Renault wait until August or September to recover the spare parts and machines still in the factory," he warned.

"If we get nothing, they get nothing at all."

Eyermann said two coachloads of workers had visited Peugeot headquarters last week, and a similar delegation would head Thursday to visit Renault bosses and the French employment ministry to try to negotiate a settlement.

They hope to force the state to put pressure on the carmakers, which both received public funds to help them through the global downturn.

The New Fabris workers, whose employer was declared bankrupt on June 16, claim that Renault and PSA paid some 30,000 euros to 200 workers laid off from another supplier, the aluminium specialist Rencast.

Founded in 1947 by two brothers, Eugene and Quentin Fabris, New Fabris started out making sewing machine parts, before branching out into the auto sector, employing up to 800 workers in the 1990s.