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Protesters Climb Peak To Oppose Alleged Plant Closing

September 21, 1988

ANNECY, France (AP) _ Four workers from the local Gillette razor plant left Wednesday on an expedition to climb Mount Blanc to protest what they say is the company’s intention to close the plant.

The company, based in Boston, denies that any decision has been made on closing the installation.

Union spokesman Jean-Pierre Toubhans said the four climbers planned to reach the top of Europe’s tallest peak on Thursday and unfurl a banner reading, ″Non a la Fermature de Gillette″ (No to the Gillette closing).

In a radio conversation Wednesday evening from a mountain shelter where the four were spending the night, worker Pierre Dussolier declared, ″This is a first warning.″

″We have other options. If the Americans want war, we’ll make war,″ he said. ″But it will be a non-violent, economic war and we’ll take it to the end.″

Dussolier did not elaborate but added that the Gillette employees were mountain folk who ″want to show the French and the Americans the determination of the highlanders.″

The plant in Annecy, a city at the edge of the Alps 330 miles southeast of Paris, employs about 750 people making double-edged blades, plastic molding components and small toiletry products.

The union charges that Gillette plans to close about 10 of its 61 plants worldwide, including the one in Annecy, as part of a restructuring plan that was devised to thwart unwanted takeover attempts.

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