State official describes workers as 'calm but determined'
14 July 2009

Extra firefighters have arrived in the French town of Chatellerault, where workers have vowed to blow up their bankrupt car factory unless they receive a larger pay-off.

Workers at the New Fabris plant gave a 31 July deadline for Renault and Peugeot, which provided 90 per cent of the plant's work, to pay them 30,000 euros (£26,000) each. If it is not paid, they say they will blow up the factory.

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A union official representing the workers told the AFP news agency that "everything has been planned for it to blow up" with gas bottles set up around the factory. The factory has around £3 million worth of car parts inside.

Guy Eyermann, CGT union official and secretary of the company works council, 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. If we get nothing, they get nothing at all."

State official Anne Frackowiak told AFP: "We are maintaining contact with the employees. If the situation gets tenser, we will be informed. But for the moment they are, on the whole, calm and determined."

Renault and Peugeot have said it is not their responsibility to the pay the workers.

New Fabris was declared bankrupt on 16 June, and 366 of its workers are involved in the dispute.

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