Goodyear bosses held by workers in France freed

AMIENS, France - Two Goodyear managers held captive for two days by angry French workers have been freed after police intervened.

The director and human resources chief at the plant in Amiens in northern France walked out of the factory Tuesday afternoon. Minutes earlier, two police officers had entered the facility while a dozen others waited outside.

The plant in Amiens, which Goodyear has tried to sell or shutter for five years, has become an emblem of France's labor tensions. The seizure Monday morning of the two managers appeared to resurrect the once-common practice of "boss-napping."

The Goodyear plant's workers, having failed to get guarantees to keep the factory open, are demanding larger severance payments.

Sylvain Niel, a labor lawyer who has worked on similar issues, said the tactic fell away because any agreements under pressure were later voided in courts. He described it as an act of despair by workers "without room to maneuver."

But the Amiens plant has an especially contentious past, with sometimes violent protests against the closure.


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