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'Bossnapping' Case Ends in France

Workers at a French chemical plant owned by the U.S. company Dow Chemical freed their boss Tuesday after holding him overnight to protest the closing of the factory in the Loire Valley.

Christian Siest, the director of the Rohm and Hass chemical factory, was given access to the bathroom, water, telephones and the Internet while he was held, said Christophe Fillippi, a worker at the plant.

Siest was locked up Monday afternoon.

Fillipi said workers want management to either retract the decision to close the factory, or pay each of the 97 employees a "decent" sum of money, as indemnity.

Negotiations were under way Tuesday afternoon.

The Rohm and Haas factory, located 70 miles southwest of Paris, was bought by Dow Chemical on April 1. It produces adhesives and glue used for automobiles and packaging.

The demand in France and throughout Europe for these products has decreased because of the economic situation, said Veronique Heller-Clauss, spokeswoman for Rohm and Haas in France.

"We have been hit over quite some time with a significant drop in sales for these activites in Europe," she said.

The plant in Semoy is the only Rohm and Haas factory in France that produces adhesives.

"Creators of profits and of the unemployed," read one sign stuck up on the entrance to the factory.

"Bossnapping" has become a common tactic by French workers seeking concessions from management.