Goodyear, French tire plant's union reach accord

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AMIENS, France (Jan. 23, 2014) — Goodyear has reached a severance agreement with the Comite d'Etablissement d'Amiens Nord (CGT) labor union about closing its Amiens Nord tire facility, ending a lengthy and bitter dispute.

The agreement was signed on Jan. 22 and Goodyear said in a statement the agreement will benefit the employees. The factory has nearly 1,200 workers.

The Akron-based tire manufacturer said it is pleased that energy can now be focused on support for employees and finding solutions moving forward. It did not release details of the agreement, but published statements from the union said the severance package was worth significantly more than Goodyear previously had offered.

The agreement, according to Goodyear, states the CGT must put an end to the occupation of the factory and withdraw legal action.

Workers and management at the plant have been at odds over the future of the factory for the past four years. Goodyear wants to close or sell the facility, which makes passenger and farm tires. The company first notified workers at the plant of its intention to scale it back in 2009 and then issued a definitive closure notice last year. That came after the tire maker failed to negotiate a new deal with the union or find a buyer for the plant along with its European farm tire business.

The CGT filed suit against Goodyear last April in Summit County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court. The dispute hit a critical point earlier this month when two Goodyear managers were detained by workers. They were freed Jan. 7 after police intervened, ending the two-day standoff.

Titan International Inc. has expressed an interest in taking over the tire plant in Amiens, but could not proceed before Goodyear and the union made an agreement.

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