Date: Sun, 23 Mar 97 01:11:19 CST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Auto workers in Belgium, France protest closing of Renault plant
When the French auto giant Renault SA announced February 27 it would close its assembly plant in Vilvoorde, Belgium, laying off 3,100, workers in both Belgium and France responded. Unemployment in Belgium stands at 13 percent. Immediately, production stopped at the plant in Vilvoorde, and workers refused to allow 4,000 finished cars off the factory grounds. Some 3,500 auto and other workers marched through the streets of Brussels March 3.
On March 5, a convoy of 900 Vilvoorde workers drove across the border to Douai in northern France, to a factory proposed to take the work of the Vilvoorde plant. Workers there promptly stopped work and joined in the demonstration. Workers at the Vilvoorde plant are planning a series of demonstrations in Paris and Brussels for March 16; auto workers across Europe have pledged support. Renault also plans to use early retirement, part-time work and other methods to cut 2,764 jobs from its French operations. The automaker had already cut 1,600 jobs with similar measures last year.