Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nortel Workers Threaten To Blow Up Factory Unless They Get Decent Layoffs

Liquidating Nortel has more troubles to add to its plate. Not only is the Canadian firm seeing a major push back to its liquidation plans by recently notorious private equity firm MatlinPatterson, which refuses to go gently into that good night and write off its $400 million investment in the failed telecom maker, but now it has to deal with its own employees who have threatened to blow up a French plant unless they get preferential layoff terms. The Globe and Mail reports that "workers had placed gas cylinders in front of the plant in the Yvelines area near Paris, where 480 jobs are set to be axed following bankruptcy proceedings."

From the article:

In the second threat by French workers to blow up a factory in a week, the paper said the workers had threatened to stage an explosion as early as Wednesday if their demands were not met, but said the gas cylinders were empty.

No immediate comment was available from Toronto-based Nortel, once the largest North American telecommunications equipment manufacturer but which filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the United States in January.

The workers were also bitter about the way the authorities handling the case in France were proceeding, the paper said.

“We are exasperated by the practices of the administrator. A meeting was planned yesterday, but it was cancelled at the last minute,” the paper cited one union member as saying on Tuesday.

“It is not the first time. They have been stringing us along for four days. They have no respect for us,” the union member said.

Speaking on LCI television, Labour Minister Xavier Darcos pledged to find solutions for the workers.

“We are going to speak to each other, we will find solutions that do not require resorting to extreme violence,” he said.

It seems the French have gotten the upper hand in counter-Rattnerian negotiating tactics. It is yet to be seen if comparable "negotiations" are pursued by the millions of business owners who will have no further recourse to loans by soon to be bankrupt lender CIT.

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