business

Dutch workers down tools at Mitsubishi plant

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© 2012 AFP

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"down tools"? "production is set to seize"? Come on JT. Let's use language that we all understand.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Be careful jamplass, you might learn something from reading the news, if you're not careful....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Come on JT. Let's use language that we all understand.

@jamplass

This is an AFP article, so can't really blame JT here.

But I do agree. Does anyone on this thread understand "down tools"? I am assuming it means that the workers destroyed machines and equipment — but I'm not sure

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Does anyone on this thread understand "down tools"?

Yes, it's a very common term meaning to 'put your tools down', ie stop working.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Thank you cleo. I learned something new.

I had actually never heard the verb 'down' used this way. I was thinking of it in terms of damaging something as in "down a helicopter; down a tree; down one's opponents; etc."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This will allow them to close the plant now. Let the workers take possession of the plant and the bills.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unemployment in the Netherlands is better than employment in many other places.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Down tools" is a perfectly fine expression for "stop working"; "seize" (means "grasp") in place of "cease" (means "stop") is not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"down tools" is a direct translation of the French expression "poser les outils" (the article is coming from AFP = Agence France Press). In other words "stop working" or "on strike" as Maria said.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And they think this will help them keep their job ?

I would think that something like this would discourage potential buyers from purchasing the plant.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seize as an intransitive verb means (of moving parts) to become stuck or jammed. Saying the plant (as a metaphor for a machine) is set to seize would be fine; production is perhaps straining the metaphor a bit past its limits.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Down Tools" is usually the expression we use in Australia for blue collar workers going on strike. "Walk off the job" is another. I do feel for these workers - but I fear that this action is not going to help. They really have no bargaining power anymore. Their jobs will be done much cheaper in The Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. I don't know about the Netherlands, but in Australia the amount of taxpayer subsidies thrown at the likes of Mitsubishi, Toyota, GM and Ford over the years to keep them in production would be enough to buy several third-world countries! Outrageous really - and maybe the same in Holland?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think I hear that based on this event, Mitsubishi are now reconsidering not ending production there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And they think this will help them keep their job ?I would think that something like this would discourage potential buyers from purchasing the plant.

I agree with Hide. Striking for better working conditions I can understand. But this case is totally different. The employer is in dire financial straits. Trying to put pressure on Mitsubishi to maintain the money losing production facility is dumb.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think I hear that based on this event, Mitsubishi are now reconsidering not ending production there.

I have not heard or read that anywhere. Could you please be a little more specific?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dream on. Of course the owner knew the union would get mad.

The only reasons I can think of for announcing shutdown do far in advance of the actual event are: to comply with legal governance requirements and mandatory notice periods for worker terminations; and/or to shake down the local and national governments for further tax and financial benefits. The latter seems difficult considering EU rules against state aid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Piltdown Man: "Down" has a darker meaning over here in Fly Over Country. If you "put that critter down", it won't get up on its own. Hopefully, their product isn't something as brain dead as the Chevy Volt.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In this case "Putting down their tools" is akin to a baby threatening to hold his breath until it gets is way! I thought these men had more sense than that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Inefficient factory. Poor workers attitude. No wonder Mitsubishi wants to cut its losses and leave. Union threats and government pressure will do nothing to endear the Dutch to Mitsubishi.

A more positive and cooperative behavoiur from the workers and their unions would probably be the only thing that would 'save' the factory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"down tools" is a direct translation of the French expression "poser les outils"

No, it is very much a common English expression although it is interesting that quite a few posters aren't familiar with it. Union leaders will be shaking in their hobnail boots the world over at such ignorance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why did Mitsubishi announce the closing so early? Pretty dumb. Most companies wait until the day of layoffs so the workers cannot cause havoc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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