Tuesday, 24 March 2009

it must be true, it was in the papers

The European Parliament has been in session in Strasbourg today discussing, amongst other things, the global crisis and how to avert protectionism. Two stories appeared in the current edition of 'The Week' that I felt were particularly pertinent given these meetings:wine terrorists strike again
French police are searching for members of a radical group that has launched three attacks in three weeks on merchants who sell foreign wine. In the latest incident, the activists broke into the Vignerons des Garrigues, a co-operative in Nimes, and emptied eight vats containing 240,000 gallons of wine - the equivalent of 1.2m bottles. The empty vats were daubed with the initials CRAV, standing for Le Comite Regional D'Action Viticole (regional committee for viticultural action). The co-operative was attacked because, although it mostly sells local wine, it buys cheap Spanish wine to sell as low-grade vin de table. Damages are estimated at €600,000.
Sony boss held hostage
The CEO of Sony France and his head of human resources were held overnight on Thursday last week by workers protesting against their redundancy terms. Employees barricaded exits from the factory near Bordeaux, which is due to close next month with the loss of 311 jobs, forcing Serge Foucher and Roland Bentz to spend the night in a conference room. Representatives said it was the only way to make management listen to their concerns; they are unhappy that their severance terms fell far short of packages offered to Sony workers in the past. The 'hostages' were released on Friday morning after Sony agreed to further talks. Relations between the two sides were said to have been 'perfectly friendly', and the police did not intervene. The 'sequestration' of bosses is not uncommon - two Michelin executives were held in a plant for five days last year.