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French Goodyear factory workers hold managers hostage over plant closing

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Workers at a Goodyear factory in northern France were holding captive two managers Monday as they upped their fight against the planned closure of the site and the potential loss of hundreds of jobs.

The director of production at the plant in Amiens and the head of human resources have both been locked in a meeting room since Monday morning in a “calm” atmosphere, Franck Jurek of the factory’s works council told AFP.

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Goodyear’s management and unions have for years been locked in negotiations on how to handle the loss-making plant, but proposals put forward by the US firm have all been rejected by the majority labour union, the CGT.

One proposal that was abandoned in 2012 was a plan for voluntary redundancies, and the CGT hopes to bring an improved version of the plan back on the table.

“We want to come back to the negotiating table, which means a plan for voluntary redundancies and seeing if there is a buyer (for the plant),” Jurek said.

“If there is no buyer, (we want) a plan for voluntary redundancies for everyone with loads of money.”

At the height of the financial crisis, the practice of so-called “bossnappings” to protest layoffs often took place in France, but these kinds of radical actions have tapered off.

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Workers at the plant said all other avenues had failed after Goodyear concluded a consultation process with employee representatives in November, paving the way for a complete shutdown of the 1,173-strong factory.

Workers now fear that they will start being officially laid off in the coming weeks.

US firm Titan International has offered to take over part of the plant, but this would only preserve 333 jobs at the site for four years or more.

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The two managers being held have been given water and still have their mobile phones, according to the CGT union.

Negotiations are “on stand-by. They will stay here and calmly spend the night with us,” Jurek said.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that the flight crew on an American Airlines trip ordered two passengers to stop social distancing and move back to their seats.

The reason? The empty row they moved into cost slightly more.

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A huge sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder sold at auction in Paris on Wednesday for over 4.9 million euros, auctioneers Artcurial said, after nearly six decades on display at a holiday park in southern France.

The influential sculptor is known primarily for his colorful and abstract mobiles, of which he made thousands over the course of his career.

But he also made "stabiles" -- the opposite of mobiles -- one of which remained concealed from the general public in La Colle-sur-Loup village, a few dozen kilometres from the ritzy city Cannes.

The black steel 3,5 meter (11 foot) structure was made by Calder in 1963.

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Joe Shapiro’s wife disputes Mary Trump’s claim her husband took SATs for Trump

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Mary Trump's upcoming tell-all book alleges that President Donald Trump's sister did his homework and friend and fellow University of Pennsylvania graduate, Joe Shapiro, took his SATs for him.

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