In France, a dispute at the state-run Renault car firm has meant that half of the firm's ninety-thousand workers are on strike or laid off.
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Background: In France, a dispute at the state-run Renault car firm has meant that half of the firm's ninety-thousand workers are on strike or laid off. It's also threatening to force the complete closure of the company.
The key plant at Flins, west of Paris, remains closed with twenty thousand men idle because of a strike by fifteen hundred workers in the coach building and upholstery departments.
The company's flagship plant in Paris is also closed because of a strike by its seven thousand workers.
One plant which has been re-opened is at Sandouville in Normandy. This plant was closed by the management after what they called "commandos of workers" took over the main power plant. The factory, which employs ten thousand people, was re-opened after the workers ended their occupation.
Half a dozen smaller Renault plants across the country are also still operating but they may all be forced to close if the dispute continues because they're dependent on supplies from other plants.
The dispute involves complex workers demands including changes in pay and improved working conditions. It's also complicated by the large number of immigrant workers employed by Renault.
Immigrants have been leading disputes in key sections of production which can lead to bottlenecks and the company has accused the unions of bidding for the support of these workers by supporting their demands without consideration of whether the firm can afford to meet them.
The french government has appointed Mr. Pierre Bois, the Labour and Employment Director for the Paris Region, to act as mediator in the dispute.