Workers at a Goodyear tire factory in Amiens, France that is slated to close took the whole concept of peaceful protest a bit too far, holding a pair of executives hostage and demanding "enormous amounts of money," according to a report from The Guardian. The two men were held for two days but have since been released, according to a report from Business Insider.

The two trapped executives, Production Manager Michel Dheilly and Human Resources Director Bernard Glesser, were at the plant to meet with union representatives to discuss the plant's future. However, 200 uninvited guests/disgruntled workers also turned up and barricaded the door of a conference room with a tractor tire (shown above with Dheilly and Glesser), according to reports.

"We want to go back to the negotiating table to seek a voluntary departure plan and see if someone will take it [the factory] over," said Franck Jurek of France's General Confederation of Labour, the group that represents the Goodyear workers, according to The Guardian. Business Insider reports that this is not the first time French labor unions have taken hostages, with Caterpillar, Sony and 3M all seeing execs captured by angry workers back in 2009.

The French factory was embroiled in controversy last year when an American businessman, Maurice Taylor, Jr, was asked by the France's minister for industrial regeneration if he'd be interested in buying the plant. "Do you think we're stupid? I've visited this factory several times. The French workers are paid high wages but only work three hours. They have one hour for their lunch, they talk for three hours and they work for three hours," Taylor said. "You can keep your so-called 'workers'." The closure of the factory would leave nearly 1,200 workers jobless, with layoffs slated to begin later this month.

Taylor was later asked to respond to the bos-napping incident. He said, "They're taking hostages. In the US, that's kidnapping. If they did that in the US, 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."

Despite having freed the two hostages, the leader of the CGT at the Goodyear factory, Mickael Wamen, offered this ominous warning: "The show is only just beginning."


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  • 63 Comments
      TC
      • 11 Months Ago
      There's a certain irony to starting off 2014 at a company called 'Goodyear' by being held captive.
      throwback
      • 11 Months Ago
      The factory is closing andno company is coming in to save those jobs. The "show" may be just beginning, but no one will be watching. French consumers will buy Chinese made tires and drive on. Meanwhile the union will blame everyone but themselves since clearly nothing is ever their fault.
      bobbylightbryant
      • 11 Months Ago
      As childish as this sounds, it is just another labor union type tactic. Give us you money or we will threaten you!
      Al Terego
      • 11 Months Ago
      They got tired of being given the run-around. I'll show myself to the door now.
      Wetstuff
      • 11 Months Ago
      Sounds like the Teamsters from the 50-60's. Remember the concrete blocks thrown from interstate overpasses? ..I didn't expect you would. Jim
      RGT881
      • 11 Months Ago
      What a bunch of unethical, short-sighted, and selfish clowns. We've all heard about what Titan CEO had to say http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-france-workers-idUSBRE91J0OF20130220 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-20/titan-ceo-crushes-socialist-work-ethic-tells-france-you-can-keep-your-so-called-work February 8, 2013 Mr. Arnaud Montebourg Ministere Du Redressement Productif 139 rue de Bercy Teledoc 136 75572 Paris cedes 12 Dear Mr. Montebourg: I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business; therefore, my apologies for not answering your letter dated 31 January 2013. I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting industrial activities and jobs in France. I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk. I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way! You are a politician so you don't want to rock the boat. The Chinese are shipping tires into France — really all over Europe — and yet you do nothing. The Chinese government subsidizes all the tire companies. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tires in France. France will lose its industrial business because its government is more government. Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tires. He does not care if the tires are from China or India and these governments are subsidizing them. Your government doesn't care either: "We're French!" The U.S. government is not much better than the French. Titan had to pay millions to Washington lawyers to sue the Chinese tire companies because of their subsidizing. Titan won. The government collects the duties. We don't get the duties, the government does. Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory. Best regards, Maurice M. Taylor, Jr Chairman and CEO
      thequebecerinfrance
      • 11 Months Ago
      You send the swat team and break some knees. I never understand why kidnapping is tolerated.
      Pastor Glenn
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm sure this makes the executives at Bridgestone, Kumho, Hankook and many other companies just want to rush right over to France and sign up this stellar workforce at this factory. I mean, every executive wants to be kidnapped and held under extortion for menaces, right? It adds so much excitement to life! (Which incidentally also happens in communist China - all the more reason not to bother going there either, to set up businesses).
        NightFlight
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Pastor Glenn
        They obviously didn't think this through, and if they did they aren't very intelligent.
        x19x19
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Pastor Glenn
        Who wouldn't want to open a plant in Socialist France? Between having to provide 8 weeks paid vacation and a 35 hour work week, I would pick another country.
      Jared
      • 11 Months Ago
      And we wonder why France is failing
      RetrogradE
      • 11 Months Ago
      The only people dumber than the UAW is the French. Q. Why do seagulls have wings? A. To beat the Frenchman to the dump.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 11 Months Ago
      75% income tax on 1,000,000 dollars and up. Yea, Id leave France too.
        DRAGON
        • 11 Months Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        NY EVO X is not totally wrong. The actual french government was planning to increase the top bracket to 75% for income over 1m euros.
        aatbloke1967
        • 11 Months Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        Incorrect. The portion of taxable income over 1m euros is taxed at 66%, the highest percentile the French constitution will allow. However, capital taxation reliefs on wealth are extensive and that's more important to wealthy individuals than rates on income. Having a working knowledge of France as well as its tax system I find helps before believing even the slightest modicum of sensationalist rubbish regurgitated b the gutter press.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 11 Months Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        aatbloke, 66% is also far too high, and France should still be evacuated by all self-respecting businesses.
          aatbloke1967
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          France adopts the same kind of marginal rate hierarchy for income tax rates on taxable income as other industrialised countries. It is similar to the US system in that the bands vary depending on status. However, instead of those bands pertaining to marital status or head of household, they increase depending on the number of persons in the household. Therefore, if you have taxable income in excess of e1m and you lived alone, your income above e70K would be taxed at 41% until you reached the magical million, and at 30%, 14%, 5% and 0% below it. If you have a wife and three kids at home and no other familial income, that 41% doesn’t hit until there are e280K in taxable earnings. 66% is not too high for a country with a 90% level of government debt in relation to GDP and not intending to attempt to reduce it by way of suppressive austerity measures which have much greater impact on growth. Contrast that with the US and its 110% figure and which is attempting to spend its way out of recession by simply adding more and more debt.
        aatbloke1967
        • 11 Months Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        Incidentally, taxable income is not gross income.
          A P
          • 11 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Nice try......but when you add in the VAT the French people are just as oppressed as they have ever been.
          aatbloke1967
          • 11 Months Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          AP, I appreciate that even by the standards of the average Autoblog poster, your posts are full of fatuous, jingoistic rubbish and offer an educated individual nothing of value. But your pathetic gibberish not only demonstrates that you have no concept of the principles of taxation, but also that you couldn't even find France in a map. You don't have the first clue about that country whatsoever. Seriously, get back to your milk & cookies, or Lego, or whatever it is your parents let you loose with.
      Jarda
      • 11 Months Ago
      France is one **cked-up country.
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