Friday, August 21, 2009

Laid-Off Hauliers Threaten River

Claim will dump toxin in Seine
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – Disgruntled workers at a French haulage company are threatening to dump tonnes of toxic fuel additive into the River Seine unless their compensation claims for layoffs are met.

The employees of trucking company Serta, located in the Normandy village of La Vaupaliere in north western France, are demanding an extra 15,000 euros (£13,000) each in addition to the compensation already paid to laid-off workers.

The company originally employed some 240 people but has had to cut 80 from the workforce. Offers of buyout have made the firms employees expect further cuts shortly.

Failure to meet their demands will, say the workers, result in them carrying out their threat to pour 8,000 litres of toxin into the river.

The threat comes at a time when a number of other industrial actions in France have achieved their aims by resorting to headline-grabbing tactics. In previous cases this summer, workers have held managers effectively hostage and even threatened to blow up factories.