Have you ever imagined kidnapping your boss? Um, neither have we but this story from France made us wonder why it’s not uncommon over there! Hmmm.
According to Fortune, 200 employees working at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Amiens took two executives hostage on Monday by preventing them from leaving their facility. Sounds like the workers weren’t happy about Goodyear’s intentions of shutting down the factory and pink slipping 1,200 employees.
A representative of the workers told a local radio station in France that they were holding the execs hostage in order to demand their employer return to talks to seek a “voluntary departure plan.”
Well, the bosses were held for 30 hours and they were free on Tuesday when cops arrived onto the scene. A company spokesperson didn’t indicate whether or not the company was going to change its plans to shut down the plant.
This wasn’t the first bossnapping to be reported in France. In the midst of the recession in 2009, a 3M manager was held hostage over a severance pay squabble. That same year, four Caterpillar executives were held hostage for 24 hours when employees protested layoffs at the company’s plant.
And yes, the same year, Sony employees weren’t too happy about their factory closing so the head of the company’s division in France and a human resources executive were held captive. Employees barricaded the exit doors with tree trunks.
In case you’re wondering, bossnapping is illegal in France and it’s also punishable by law.
Despite its legal implications and the fact that it’s downright wrong, perhaps factory workers are seeing some type of benefit? After the 3M employees voluntarily released their boss, their demands were met in court and after the Caterpillar incident, the company ramped up its severance package.
As the piece pointed out, perhaps since France is known for their public collaborations (ahem, remember the French Revolution?), bossnappings appeal to public sentiment. Kidnappers of executives don’t seem to get punished and although the government formally denounces kidnappings, per the Fortune story, they simply look the other way.