In a reaction to the crisis in France, company bosses have been finding themselves taken hostage in an effort to gain improved redundancy terms or to avoid staff cutbacks.
In the latest kidnapping, French workers in a factory in Metz blocked the door of the meeting room holding the bosses because some of the work from the plant is being transferred to Malaysia. They were at pains to point out that the bosses could still eat and use the bathroom.
Does ‘bossnapping’ work? Well if I was a boss I guess I’d be sacking the kidnappers for ‘exceeding their responsibilities’ but it does sound quite fun. In fact quite often the tactic does work and before they are released the bosses agree to re-open discusssions, with a significant chance that redundancy terms are improved.
I couldn’t find mention of any French company bosses that had said ‘Ok, you’re getting nothing at all if you don’t let me go right now’ or ‘First chance I get I’m going to pull out of France completely and set up in Macedonia’, although I imagine that’s what they are really thinking.
One comforting note for bosses in France – no one has been physically hurt in any of the bossnappings so far – in fact quite the opposite – at 3M the boss was apparently treated to a nice plate of moules frites.
But here’s the surprising thing – polls in France have shown that almost 50% of people think it is reasonable to take bosses hostage in an effort to get better redundancy terms. The police apparently prefer to stand back and keep a watchful eye rather than intimidate the workers.
M Sarkozy said that the behaviour is unacceptable – shortly before the New York Times reported on the kidnapping at the Caterpillar factory that ‘The executives were released after President Sarkozy promised to meet with union leaders and save the site’.
This is of course the advantage of running our little company all alone in the deep dark countryside. Above all, Mrs B is unlikely to take me hostage, because she want’s me to go outside and cut the grass – and keeping me locked-up inside on the computer all day is the least of her challenges.