France

'Free managers or no meeting' Goodyear France tells bossnapping workers

Goodyear factory at Amiens, northern France
Goodyear factory at Amiens, northern France Reuters / Rossignol

The bosses of Goodyear France say there will be no negotiations with union representatives until the two managers held captive by workers since yesterday are released.

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Mickaël Wamen, the leader of the majority CGT union at the Amiens plant where the managers are being held captive reacted swiftly: “Until the managers are released there will be no meeting? Well, we say until there is a meeting they will not be released”.

Workers at a Goodyear factory in northern France took the action yesterday as part of their campaign against the planned closure of the site and the potential loss of hundreds of jobs.

The director of production at the plant in Amiens and the head of human resources have both been locked in a meeting room since Monday morning in a "calm" atmosphere, according to Franck Jurek of the factory's works council.

Goodyear's management and unions have for years been locked in negotiations on how to handle the loss-making plant, but proposals put forward by the US firm have all been rejected by the majority labour union, the CGT.

One proposal that was abandoned in 2012 was a plan for voluntary redundancies, and now the CGT hopes to bring an improved version of the plan back on the table.

"We want to come back to the negotiating table, which means a plan for voluntary redundancies and seeing if there is a buyer [for the plant]," Jurek said.

"If there is no buyer, [we want] a plan for voluntary redundancies for everyone with loads of money."

At the height of the financial crisis, so-called "bossnappings" to protest agains layoffs were not uncommon in France.

Workers at the plant said all other avenues had failed after Goodyear concluded a consultation process with employee representatives in November, paving the way for a complete shutdown of the 1,173-strong factory.

Workers now fear that they will start being officially laid off in the coming weeks.

US firm Titan International has offered to take over part of the plant, but this would only preserve 333 jobs at the site for four years or more.

 

 

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