The protesters accuse PSA and Renault of blocking negotiations.
French television and social media channels are showing videos of workers disassembling and destroying a factory in La Souterraine in central France. The employees are even threatening to blow up the small factory if their financial demands are not met.
GM&S is a small car parts supplier, which provides Renault and PSA Group with details like brackets and bumper supports. In December last year, a judge placed the factory in receivership and an order to liquidate could come by the end of the month. The protesting 280 or so workers accuse the automakers of blocking negotiations for a takeover of the plant and making too few orders.
However, the two manufacturers claim they have both done their part to keep the plant in business. "We have always been at the side of La Souterraine, and we are the only client to have maintained our level of business, while other clients have abandoned GM&S,” PSA declared, while Renault said it “had maintained its orders” with GM&S.
According to several reports, the workers have already destroyed a press using a welding torch and other pieces of machinery with a front-end loader. Photos in Twitter and Facebook show gas canisters strung up next to a huge tank of liquid oxygen. Trade union representatives have announced the protesters will destroy a machine each day unless their demands are met.
"We did not want it to get here, but we don’t have a choice: our average age is 49, what else will we do?” CGT union delegate Vincent Labrousse told Le Parisien. “Since they want to liquidate us, we are not going to leave the factory as it is. It’s sad to say, but here we are.”
Currently, the protesters are demanding a meeting with PSA and Renault managers for new negotiations, as well as newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We refuse to be taken for a ride anymore," Labrousse told AFP.