Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 15:45 UK

Factory tense amid blow-up threat

Gas bottles have been placed around the Fabris site by workers who have threatened to blow the place up unless compensation is paid.
Gas bottles have been placed around the Fabris site by workers

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

The workers at the factory in Chatellerault, south-west of Paris, were said to be "calm and determined".

Workers at New Fabris gave a 31 July deadline for Renault and Peugeot, which provided 90% of the plant's work, to pay them 30,000 euros (£26,000) each.

Renault and PSA Peugeot said it was not their responsibility to pay workers.

New Fabris was declared bankrupt on 16 June, and 366 of its workers are involved in the dispute in Chatellerault, some 305km (190 miles) south-west of Paris.

If we get nothing, they get nothing at all

Guy Eyermann, CGT union official

"We are maintaining contact with the employees," state official Anne Frackowiak was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

"If the situation gets tenser, we will be informed. But for the moment they are on the whole calm and determined."

A union official told the news agency that "everything has been planned for it to blow up" with gas bottles set up around the factory. The factory has millions of euros worth of car parts inside.

It was unclear if the gas bottles were full.

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."

New Fabris company director Pierre Reau said workers with 20 years or more experience would get between 10,000 and 15,000 euros, but some junior staff would get only 3,000 euros.

Union members hope to negotiate with Renault, Peugeot and the industry ministry for a larger pay-off, and claim that workers at another supplier received 30,000 euros each from the carmakers.

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