Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

French Sony boss freed by staff

Serge Foucher (centre) leaves the plant in Pontonx-sur-l-Adour after being held hostage overnight on 13/3/09
Serge Foucher (centre) agreed to reconsider pay-off terms

The head of Sony France and his human resources manager have been freed after being held captive overnight by staff angry at their severance package.

Serge Foucher and Roland Bentz were released from the factory in south-west France after agreeing to restart talks on the terms of the redundancy.

The plant at Pontonx-sur-l'Adour is due to shut on 17 April.

Representatives of the 311 workers said their action was the only way to make management listen to their concerns.

Talks were said to be under way on Friday afternoon.

"We hope that this time our voices will be heard," unionist Patrick Achaguer told Reuters news agency.

Mr Foucher's visit to the plant on Thursday was to be his last before its closure, the AFP news agency reports.

Workers, unhappy that their pay-off is less generous than for staff at other closed French Sony plants, decided to strike and barricaded the site to stop the company executives from leaving.

Police were outside the site but did not intervene.

There have been several incidents in the past of disgruntled French workers holding their bosses hostage, the French news agency reports.

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