FRANCE: Goodyear Amiens rumours continue as union burns tyres, throws eggs

By Simon Warburton | 20 November 2013

Confusion surrounds any apparent offers for Goodyear's troubled Amiens Nord plant, as demonstrating workers continue to blockade the tyre manufacturer's depot in northern France and throw eggs in protest.

Unverified reports claim French Economic Redevelopment Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, has referred to two offers that were apparently made, potentially including one from US tyre producer, Titan International, but that these were withdrawn due to the significant industrial unrest at the plant.

The site faces possible closure with the loss of around 1,200 jobs, but speculation has persisted Titan could make a bid, although on the basis of employing considerably fewer staff.

Television pictures in France show what appear to be members from hardline union, the CGT, throwing eggs at the building used as an information point for staff looking for alternative employment either within Goodyear or elsewhere, while further images show burning tyres in front of the supplier's depot.

"The CGT is blockading and protesting - there were some demonstrations outside the office of this information point," a Goodyear spokesman told just-auto from France.

The CGT and more moderate union, the CFDT, have called a Works Council for tomorrow (21 November), that Goodyear will attend, although it is unclear what will be on the agenda.

"The depot has been blockaded, but there is still activity going on, so people can come in and out," said the Goodyear spokesman. "They just blockade the depot where they stock all the tyres.

"Goodyear has not received any offer from Titan via Montebourg or directly from Titan. There are not any on-going negotiations or talks on a possible takeover from Titan.

"The closure plan goes on as scheduled."

Arnaud Montebourg's office in Paris was not immediately available for comment.