France's Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) union let drivers pass without charge through motorway tolls last week in an extraordinary bid to highlight its continued high-profile protest against PSA Peugeot-Citroen's plans to cut up to 8,000 jobs and close the Aulnay plant near Paris.

Having first obtained permission from the French police, around 100 union members lifted the barriers around the motorway toll at Senlis in the Oise departement, around 50km from the Aulnay factory and let drivers pass through free, although it appears some voluntarily made contributions to the CGT labour body.

"The [Aulnay] factory functioned normally," a PSA Aulnay spokeswoman told just-auto from France. "One hundred demonstrators lifted the barriers for around an hour - the drivers could pass. It was calm, it was an operation of seduction as the trade unionists said.

"It was operations the trade union had organised with the police - there were some policemen there."

It appears this is by no means the first time such a motorway protest has taken place in France and appears extremely organised with the CGT members wearing high-viz fluorescent yellow jackets and appearing to garner significant support from the passing - toll-free - public.

No damage was reported and the direct action preceded a further demonstration yesterday (20 September) in Paris in front of French President, Francois Hollande's residence as the Head of State met a PSA union delegation to discuss the highly contentious restructuring plans.