Business

Goodyear managers freed at French plant

  • 7 January 2014
  • From the section Business
Media captionThe men leave the plant in Northern France

Workers at a Goodyear plant in Northern France have released two managers held captive since Monday morning in a dispute over the plant's closure.

The director of production at the site in Amiens, Michel Dheilly, and human resources chief Bernard Glaser had not been allowed to leave the plant site.

They were released on Tuesday afternoon minutes after police entered the plant.

Staff and management have been negotiating for years over how to deal with the loss-making site.

The union has been pushing for a redundancy plan with more generous payoffs.

They want redundancy packages of between 80,000 euros (£66,000; $109,100) and 180,000 euros, as well as job retraining assistance for 24 months, rather than the 15 currently on offer.

Penalty

French workers have a history of holding managers captive, although so called "boss-nappings" were more common during the height of the financial crisis.

Companies including 3M, Sony and Caterpillar were affected in 2009.

Although France has a penalty of up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro fine for holding a person against their will for less than seven days, it is rarely enforced.

The workers' action took place after a court rejected their most recent appeal against the factory's closure.

France 2 TV has shown footage of the Goodyear executives sitting at a table mutely as workers shouted at them.

According to the CGT union, the two managers had been given water and were allowed to keep their mobile phones.

Their release came after a regional legal official ordered the move.

The French industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, who had been trying to resolve the situation, told the French parliament earlier on Monday he strongly condemned the behaviour.

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