Workers at collapsed French car parts maker New Fabris threatened on Sunday to blow up their factory if they did not receive payouts by July 31 from auto groups Renault and Peugeot to compensate for their lost jobs.
New Fabris was declared in liquidation in April, so the workers stand to get no redundancy money, although they are entitled to draw state unemployment benefit.
They want Renault SA (RENA.PA) and PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) to pay 30,000 euros ($41,800) for each of the 336 staff at the factory, or some 10 million euros in total, in return for its remaining stocks of equipment and machinery.
The bottles of gas have already been placed at various parts of the factory and are connected with each other, CGT trades union official Guy Eyermann told France Info radio.
If Renault and PSA refuse to give us that money it could blow up before the end of the month, he added
A delegation of the workers has a meeting on Thursday with Renault, which had no immediate comment. Police also declined to comment on the threat by the workers, who are occupying the New Fabris factory at Chatellerault, near Poitiers in central France.
The company is the successor to Fabris, founded in 1947 and put into liquidiation in 2007. It was later acquired by ZEN of Italy which is headed by Florindo Garro. ZEN SpA, based in Albignasego near Padua, makes cast iron parts for vehicles.
Garro controls other metal firms in France such as Rencast and SBFM that also have financial difficulties.
Some French workers have adopted militant tactics in the economic crisis, including bossnappings where managers have been held hostage in their offices. (Reporting by Gerard Bon and Marcel Michelson, editing by Mark Trevelyan)