Nortel faces explosive French situation

Disgruntled Nortel employees in France have threatened to blow up the vendor’s R&D centre in Chateaufort, outside Paris, in a bid to force management into talks.

Nortel placed the plant in liquidation in May and around 480 jobs at the R&D facilities are expected to be lost following bankruptcy proceedings.

According to multiple local reports Nortel employees placed gas cylinders in front of the plant after provisional management cancelled a scheduled meeting with workers on Monday. The Nortel workers have been striking for nine days.

The employees who are all facing redundancy are furious over the way their employment terminations have been handled and are demanded better severance packages. Union representatives have subsequently confirmed that the canisters were empty and that the threat was a hoax  designed to force executives into negotiation.  

One Nortel executive operations manager Charles-Henri Descours taking part in the strike told French press, “we placed the gas canisters symbolically, we weren’t going to blow the place up, but we knew we had to do something exceptional. We’re executives and senior executives, used to working 15 hours a day. We knew the rules of the game and never imagined we would need to go on strike to get our demands heard.”

Nortel said in a statement that it was keeping a close eye on the situation and that discussions were continuing.

Check out images from the strike here