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Goodyear Sued by French Workers Over Plan to Close Plant

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was sued by French employees claiming plans to close its Amiens, France, facility violate the country’s labor laws.

Plant worker Mickael Wamen and the Central Works Council, a body elected by facility employees to represent them, filed a complaint yesterday in state court in Akron, Ohio, seeking $4 million in damages against Goodyear.

“The laws of France are designed to protect its workers from employers disregarding the impact of their decisions that disrupt the lives of their employees without consulting the proper representatives of their employees,” according to a copy of the complaint obtained from plaintiffs’ lawyer.

The planned closing of the site by Goodyear, the biggest U.S. tire maker, triggered protests in the northern French town. Nineteen police officers were hurt in a clash with stone-throwing workers there on March 7.

Goodyear employs about 1,173 people at the Amiens facility, according to the complaint.

“The company doesn’t comment on pending litigation,” Keith Price, a spokesman for the Akron-based company, said today.

Wamens and the council allege Goodyear failed to give them complete and timely information about plans to close the factory and relocate its manufacturing capacity elsewhere, as well as about the company’s since-abandoned plan to sell its farm-tire production to Titan International Inc.

In the complaint seeking class-action status to represent all of the plant’s workers, they also claim the company is interfering with the relationship of the council and employees with the tire maker’s Goodyear France unit.

The complaint includes a request for a court order blocking Goodyear from moving consumer tire production out of the facility.

The case is Wamen v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2013-40-1908, Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Summit County (Akron).

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