A local official Monday dismissed a threat by laid-off French workers to blow up their auto-parts factory, saying the gas canisters they placed outside the plant are apparently empty. The factory's more than 350 workers were fired last month. They are demanding â‚¬30,000 each by the end of the month in compensation from the main clients, PSA and Renault, union officials say. Some 150 of them are occupying the factory, where some equipment has already been burned.
Ten days ago, employees began rigging the outside of the factory with gas canisters strung together with what they claim is a flammable cord. Anne Frackowiak, top aide to the local governor in Chatellerault, 305 kilometers southwest of Paris, said the factory director had reported that the gas canisters were empty.