Viagra men down tools

EVEN VIAGRA is impotent against the French disease. More than 200 workers at the main European production plant of the impotency cure, at Poce-sur-Cisse on the Loire, have gone on strike for a greater share of profits from the drug.

All entrances to the Pfizer factory, near Amboise, have been blocked since Monday.

The employees say they have been working flat out to prepare the plant - dubbed Viagraland by the French press - for the European launch of the drug this month. They are demanding a pounds 500 one-off payment, a 2.5 per cent pay rise and an annual bonus of a 14th month's salary (like many French workers they already get a 13th month).

Christian Menard, a union leader, said that the company's offers so far were "indecent", given the worldwide profits expected from the drug.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Amboise, Bernard Debre, has claimed the plant has been turned into an armed camp to prevent a raid on the site to feed the flourishing black market in Viagra. The firm says it was just "normal precautions". The factory manager, Jean Lhoste, said there were no particular fears of robbery.

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