And You Thought Detroit Had Issues

Le populist rage from the Financial Times: "Workers at a failed French car parts supplier are threatening to blow up their factory unless the company's two biggest clients - Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen - stump up extra compensation." And just in time for Bastille Day!

This comes after a wave of "bossnappings" across the country, where frustrated workers would take their bosses hostage "sometimes for several days."

Here's the crux of the story:

The threat could still be an empty one as government officials said there appeared to be some doubt as to whether the gas canisters were full. Nonetheless, the government is taking the threat seriously, fearful that the lastest hold up marks a significant increase in labour tensions that have been present for several months. The fire brigade has been put on stand-by and emergency service reinforcements sent to the area near the factory in Ch√Ętellerault in western France, according to a news agency report.

Earlier this year France was hit by a wave of boss-nappings, where workers held factory managers hostage, sometimes for several days, to force better redundancy payoffs or protest at factory closures. Most ended without violent incident.

However there is real concern within the government that tensions could rise in the autumn, when unemployment and company failures are expected to increase sharply, especially in the car parts sector - hard hit by the automobile crisis. There is already widespread resentment at bailouts for banks and carmakers, while the government has refused to consider a fiscal stimulus package to boost consumer spending.

(Hat tip @Charles Davi, who quips: "They demand almost 11 million, yet the equipment they threaten to destroy is worth only 4 million. Perhaps they should rethink their strategy?")