French police stormed an ice cream factory on Tuesday to free a British manager who had been held hostage by workers angry over job cuts, officials said.
Paramedics reported 14 workers injured in the police operation to free Prakash Patel, who had been held captive in his office for one night after more than 250 redundancies were announced at the factory owned by the Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever.
Patel was said to be unharmed. But tensions remained high with some workers burning tyres and wooden pallets in front of the factory gates even after the police raid.
.... "We were really scared. I was shocked. They were charging people like me who are 57 years old," said Alain Didelot, a union official at the factory which has been making ice cream cones for 33 years.
.... "I regret what happened during the night, which was really a useless offence which shows an irresponsible attitude. But I want a real social dialogue," said Daniel Degove, chairman of Cogesal-Miko. He would not say if the company planned to press charges against the workers.
Unilever France said it would meet workers to discuss the planned changes at the plant.