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Downsizing deals - Akers workers lock up 4 managers in France

The Canadian Press reported that workers at a steel plant in eastern France have locked up four of their bosses in a dispute over layoffs, marking a new eruption of frustration at the fallout of the financial crisis.

The plant in the town of Fraisses, owned by Swedish manufacturer Akers, is slated to close because of a collapse in orders over the past year, and the plant's 120 workers are to lose their jobs.

Talks Wednesday on severance pay packages broke down and several workers angry with the company's offer locked up the director of Akers France, the director of the Fraisses plant and two human resources directors.

Ms Christine Baudelaire spokeswoman of Akers said that the workers brought them food and water but woke the four repeatedly during the night.

Mr Benoit Bourg, the human resources director of the Fraisses plant and among those sequestered, said the company has offered all it possibly can to the workers. He said that the company has seen a very brutal drop in orders since the beginning of 2009.

Akers announced temporary layoffs at its plants in Sweden last year because of the downturn in the global steel market.

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