The chief executive of Sony in France was freed today after being held hostage overnight by workers practising an increasing common negotiating tactic amid growing industrial unrest in France. Serge Foucher and Roland Bentz, director of human resources, had been prevented from leaving the Sony factory in Pontoux-sur-l'Adrour in south-west France following a protest over redundancy payments. "I am happy to be free and to see the light of day again," said Mr Foucher, following his release which took place when Sony executives agreed to fresh negotiations over the layoffs. The two executives had travelled to Pontoux-sur-l'Adour to meet the 311 workers at the plant before its closure next month as part of Sony's Y100 billion cost-cutting programme. But they found themselves locked in a meeting room while workers barricaded the factory with tree trunks. Unionists said the Pontoux-sur-l'Adrour employees had been given a less generous redundancy package than their counterparts at other Sony factories in France. They said had been offered €3,500 if they relocated, whereas the group had promised to cover all the relocation expenses of its other French staff. "We are all going to be fired. We want to be treated in a dignified manner,' said Patrick Hachaguer, a representative of the left-wing Confédération Générale du Travail union. Chantal Omiciuolo, 50, said the detention of Mr Foucher was "our last chance, we didn't have the choice." Mr Foucher's release came when the French authorities intervened to summon unions and executives to a fresh round of talks in the nearby town of Dax. Mr Hachaguer was triumphant. "We've managed to get management back to the negotiating table," he said. The incident was the latest in a string of similar flashpoints in French industry in recent months Last month, two executives from Michelin, the tyre manufacturer, were held hostage by workers who were angry over a factory closure in France for two days. In October, staff at SBFM, a foundry, stopped managers from leaving discussions in the local town hall. A year ago, the British head of BRS, a car parts company, was locked in his factory for 48 hours after announcing plans to relocate. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article5902653.ece ------------------------------------------------------------------------ My first reaction was that it was a news story from The Onion. I've been layed off before, but I've never locked my boss in a meeting room with tree trunks. I guess you guys handle it differently in France.