Worker Reactions to Crisis

Explaining 'Bossnappings'

in French Politics, Culture & Society
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In France in 2009-10, several managers announcing redundancies were held hostage by workers. Although the global economic crisis and an attendant rise in unemployment may provide a catalyst for "bossnappings," the real explanations for the phenomenon have to be found partly in the institutional make up of French industrial relations that have resulted in weak, divided unions and weak and conflictual collective bargaining mechanisms. However, such institutional factors cannot provide the whole explanation. Ideas also matter, and these underlying structural weaknesses have been unable to contain radical outbursts of anger when allied to pre-existing concerns over globalization—which appeared to be vindicated by the current economic crisis—, the reactions of the government to crisis, and the incapacity of unions or the state to respond to it.