The two Goodyear managers held captive at a northern France plant have been freed following police intervention, according to reports.
The two managers production manager Michel Dheilly and human resources director Bernard Glaser walked out of the Amiens plant Tuesday afternoon following the police intervention.
The French union workers were holding the pair captive while demanding greater severance pay from the tiremaker.
Roughly a dozen police officers arrived at the building, with two entering. According to reports, members of the CGT union were told if they didn’t free the two managers, dozens of police riot trucks would arrive and everyone would end up in jail.
The release of the managers outraged union members who made a bonfire of tires outside the plant, reports said. Union members also spray painted the word ‘Bad’ over ‘Good’ on a Goodyear sign leading into the factory.
Goodyear announced in January 2013 it planned to shut the facility after five years of failing to reach an agreement with CGT, the main union at the site. The French government has been seeking a buyer for the plant, and was talking with Titan International about the possibility.
Last night, Titan International chairman and CEO Morry Taylor spoke with local French radio station about his thoughts on the hostage situation, according to Bloomberg reports.
“That’s really stupid,” he was quoted as saying. “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.”