A communist union at a Goodyear tire factory in Amiens, France kidnapped two executives Monday morning and kept them locked in a room in order to force concessions from the company.
Mickaël Wamen, an employee and spokesperson for CGT, the communist union at the tire plant, said Monday the two executives would be held “until workers get a satisfactory response to their requests.” Goodyear, which has been attempting to close the plant, refused to negotiate until the executives were released.
After 30 hours being held hostage the two executives, Michel Dheilly and Bernard Glesser, were released just as police arrived to take them out. The union surrounded the police chanting “We are not thugs!” Wamen, the union leader, promised new means of resistance “We have our work tools and we’ll occupy our factory.” He also said the factory had hundreds of tires still on hand. The unionists have set large piles of tires on fire on several previous occasions (see video below).
The hostage taking took place at the same failing tire plant which made news last year when American CEO Maurice “The Grizz” Taylor wrote a blunt letter to France’s Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg. Taylor’s letter, which was leaked to the media, said in part:
I have visited the 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!
Montebourg responded by calling Taylor an “extremist” and threatening to monitor his company’s tire imports more closely. Taylor responded with a 2nd letter saying “Your government let the wackos of the communist union destroy the highest
Despite the tough words, Taylor told the Wall Street Journal in October that he was still willing to look at buying the plant if the French Minister could get the communist union to decide what it wanted to do. Later in the interview, Taylor went on to repeat most of his statements about French workers.
Taylor reacted with shock to the hostage taking. He told a French radio station “They’re crazy! I mean, come on! Get real! There’s no reason to do that!” Taylor added “These people should be arrested and prosecuted.”