Mel Brooks may have coined the phrase “it’s good to be the king”, but that probably wasn’t what the president of Sony France was thinking when he was taken hostage by the angry employees at his soon to be closed Pontonx-sur-l'Adour tape manufacturing plant. Workers held Serge Foucher overnight before freeing him on Friday to take part in his meeting with head office officials to continue negotiating their severance package. “I am happy to be free and to see the light of day again” he told reporters as he climbed into a mini-bus with other union officials.
Sony press spokeswoman Delphine Viers said the situation was under control and the manager had been in contact with the local state security chief regularly throughout his captivity. "It's true that this might seem surprising abroad, but it's less surprising in France, where we're more used to this kind of situation," she said, adding that it was unlikely that the firm would make a criminal complaint.
The Pontonx-sur-l'Adour plant is slated to close April 17th, and has been producing video tapes for Sony since 1984. This isn’t the first time disgruntled workers have held bosses hostage in France, but I wouldn’t suggest trying it here. I’m not sure North American CEO’s would have the same level of patience.