A French official has dismissed a threat by laid-off workers to blow up their factory in western France, saying the gas canisters they placed in front of the automobile parts company are empty.

Anne Frackowiak, top aide to the local governor in Chatellerault, 190 miles southwest of Paris, said Monday the former New Fabris factory workers will be meeting with France's industry minister to discuss their demand for $41,000 compensation each by the end of the month.

More than 350 employees were fired last month when their factory closed. Some of the workers were quoted last week in French media as threatening to blow up the factory if they didn't receive fair treatment.

Unionists at the factory were not available for comment Monday.