After being held hostage for two days by left-leaning union members at a Goodyear tire factory in Amiens, located some 60 miles north of the French capital, Paris, two company managers were released today with the help of French police.
On Monday, the General Confederation of Labour (GCT) union-backed workers had used large farm tires to barricade site director Michel Dheilly and human resources manager Bernard Glesser in an office after a meeting over lay-off pay for the 1,250 employees who are set to lose their jobs at the factory.
According to CNBC, CGT union heads want the Ohio-based tire-maker to increase the packages offered to workers from €20,000 to €80,000 or about $27,000 to $109,000 respectively. Goodyear, on its behalf, claims that it had offered €80,000 as part of restructuring in 2012, which CGT then refused.
Bloomberg reported that the union leaders warned this isn’t the end of the story. “The show is only just beginning,” Mickael Wamen, leader of the CGT union at Goodyear’s Amiens-Nord factory, told the media after the release of the two hostages.
In the meantime, Maurice Taylor, Chairman of Titan International Inc. who had considered investing in the farm-tire operations of the factory in 2013 but decided to walk away stating at the time, "The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three", spoke to French radio station RTL about the hostage situation last night:
“That’s really stupid,” he said. “They’re taking hostages. In the U.S., that’s kidnapping. If they did that in the U.S., these people would go to jail. Why don’t they just go and rob a bunch of French banks and they could end up buying Goodyear? They’re crazy. I mean, come on! Get real. There’s no reason to do that. They’re not the big bosses. They can’t do anything. My God, they’re nuts.”
Video and print-screen courtesy of CNBC