Goodyear says a French Appeal Court has today (17 December) validated the decision to implement its job savings plan at its Amiens Nord site, although effectively this could mean the closure of the tyre plant.

The issue has provoked a bitter reaction from French unions - notably the majority Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) labour body at the plant - with television reports showing irate workers burning tyres outside the factory and hurling eggs at a building housing an information point designed to secure alternative employment.

"Today there was a Court hearing - the Appeal Court of Versailles that gave the judgement," a Goodyear spokesman told just-auto from France. "The first one was on the validity of the closing of the plant at Amiens Nord.

"They also found Goodyear contacted [provided a] sufficient amount of information for the Works Council - this was one of the main points of the CGT.

"In France, it is the Plan de Sauvegarde de l'Emploi [job protection plan or PSE] - it is something you put in place when you want to shut down a plant. It is the plan that has been validated."

In reality however, such a move could herald the closure of the site with the PSE aiming to save as many jobs as possible.

"We have ended the consultation process and now the closure of the plant is in place," said the Goodyear spokesman. "We don't have a timeline. It is the 13th ruling in favour of Goodyear in a row since the beginning of the year - 13 rulings that have been positive for Goodyear."

Despite the favourable judgement from the Appeal Court, it appears a French Parliamentary Commission is also due to pronounce on the situation tomorrow.

It is believed the Commission could deliver a downbeat report concerning the situation at Amiens Nord, although it is not thought this will impact negatively on the situation at the northern France plant.

Considerable speculation has surrounded a possible takeover of the Goodyear site by US tyre manufacturer, Titan International, with equal rumours the American company was dissuaded by some of the more militant union actions.

"Ever since 2007 when there was the proposal of an investment plan to modernise all the manufacturing equipment - and in exchange Goodyear asked to reorganise working schedules - that was not approved by the CGT," said the Goodyear spokesman.

"Goodyear has tried to come up with a better solution including the voluntary departure plan and the acquisition of the farm activity by Titan - all those efforts were sterile."

Earlier this year, 57 companies around the world deemed potentially suitable for a takeover were contacted by the French Agency for International Investment (AFII), of which eight declared themselves interested.

Of these eight companies, five signed confidentiality agreements and two non-binding offers were presented, but the Economic Redevelopment Ministry said at the time no candidates were in a position to present a binding offer.

"The decision to close was the last resort after a number of proposals made by Goodyear's management," said the spokesman.

The CGT was not immediately available for comment.