By Wire News Sources on April 11, 2010
FRANCE: Breast implant workers threaten to burn French factory
Employees at a bankrupt breast implant manufacturing plant in the south of France are threatening to burn the factory if the state does not intercede to ensure they get severance pay. Poly Implant Prothèse was ordered by a judge at the end of March to liquidate its assets, and a French regulatory agency citied it for distributing faulty silicone implants.
"We are making Molotov cocktails and we have put highly flammable products at the entrance to the site,” said Eric Mariaccia of the CFDT trade union at the factory in La Seyne-sur-Mer factory on the Mediterranean coast.
About 30 workers have been occupying the factory since Friday. The have dumped thousands of implants in front of the factory entrance and have set tyres on fire.
The company is under investigation for distributing defective implants that had not passed proper inspection. On 30 March a Toulon judge ordered the company to close shop.
The trade unions are demanding that the 120 employees factory workers who were laid off as a result of the bankruptcy be compensated between 10,000 and 15,000 euros each, and that a mediator be appointed.
“We want someone to come and release these emergency funds,” said Mariaccia, adding that the only person who can do so is the prefect, the state representative in the area.
Last week Afssaps, the French agency that oversees medical products, ordered the company’s filled silicone implants be taken off the market after it determined that there were too many complaints of them leaking. The Chilean public health authority made the same decision Friday.
An inspection of the factory in mid-March revealed that the implants were filled with a different gel than had been approved by the health ministry.
A recall of the implants could affect thousands of people, though it is not clear if the company will reimburse surgeries to get them removed.
PIP was the third largest company on the implant market, and exported 90 per cent of its production outside of France.
US Food and Drug Administration via Wikimedia Commons