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French Workers Release Sony Boss, HR Director

Workers at a Sony plant in southwestern France have freed two of the company's top executives after holding them overnight in a dispute over severance pay.

Sony France chief executive Serge Foucher emerged from the plant Friday with his human resources director, Roland Bentz. Workers released the men after the two sides agreed to restart talks on the severance package.

They had prevented the managers from leaving since Thursday, blocking the entrance to the plant with tree trunks.

Foucher had gone to talk with the employees ahead of the Sony plant's scheduled closing April 17.

The factory's 311 workers say they are unhappy with the way the Japanese technology giant is treating them.

France, like many other countries around the world, has been hit by a wave of factory closures and mass layoffs because of the global economic crisis.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.