Apr 01, 2009

Layoffs At Your Company? Be Glad You're Not in France

Managers routinely report that laying off workers is one of their least favorite job responsibilities. And it's no wonder why: Especially in our current tough economic climate, managers worry about whether laid off workers will be able to find a new job -- and make ends meet while they're looking. Add to that the stress of having to actually break the news to employees, worries over whether remaining employees will be able to handle the workload, and concern over whether the company itself will survive the recession, and you can see why layoffs provoke so much managerial anxiety.

Well, they've got even bigger concerns in France: kidnapping. As reported by CNN, there were three separate kidnapping incidents in March 2009, at Sony France, 3M France, and most recently at Caterpillar. Employees at Caterpillar, angered after hearing that the company had proposed laying off 700 workers, took four executives hostage; there's no word yet on whether they've been released. The workers did release a human resources director who recently had a heart attack. As tactics go, this one is proving to be effective: The kidnapping incidents at Sony France and 3M France both resulted in renewed discussions or negotiations between the union and the company, which is also what the Caterpillar workers say they want.