Bossnapping Rampant Across Europe

I came across the term “bossnapping” the other day while listening to NPR. It seems that frustrated workers across Europe are taking matters into their own hands.

Evidently bossnapping is an old practice that’s been called back from the dead. From The Guardian:

The tactic, which became popular during the tumultuous days of 1968, is an extreme yet common measure used sporadically by unhappy French workers. Reserved for when other more orthodox forms of protest are going nowhere, bossnapping is the final card played by a workforce at the end of its tether.

Incidents are primarily taking place in France, though there are scattered incidents in Belgium as well. Interior Minister Sarkozy has condemned the actions of the workers and has vowed to put them to a stop:

“What is this story about going and holding people hostage?” he asked. “We are in a state of laws, there is a law that applies, I will ensure it is respected.”

Yet, despite his condemnation, there was another incident where workers destroyed the very factory they were trying to save from permanent shut down.

Most of the acts have been non-violent. But on Tuesday, workers from a factory run by German auto parts maker Continental AG exploded in anger after a court north of Paris refused to forbid the company from shutting down the site next year.

They smashed windows at the factory in Clairoix and at a regional administrative office in nearby Compiegne, pulling up lamps and crushing desks and cabinets…Continental’s case has drawn nationwide attention. Citing the steep drop in demand in the automobile sector, Continental announced in March plans to shutter the factory in Clairoix, north of Paris, which employs 1,120.

On Wednesday, factory management suspended production because of the damage wrought by protesters. Workers agreed to hold government-mediated talks with management April 29 over conditions of the factory’s closure.

To be honest, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of this around here.