Yesterday, March 7th, Goodyear’s employees in France clashed with police after they begun burning tires in front of the company’s headquarters, a last attempt to save their jobs.
It’s been five years now since Goodyear has been struggling to find solutions and not close its plant in northern France, confronted with the shrinking European auto market. According to the workers Goodyear plans to transfer the work to China, a market where tire can be manufactured cheaper and which is close to other emerging markets.
Goodyear said that the French plant produces a type of tires for Europe, which are no longer selling. Now the company is forced to close the plant and in a last effort to keep their jobs, hundreds of workers protested yesterday in front of Goodyear’s offices near Paris, setting tires on fire and firing paintballs at a line of riot police.
There were also several brief clashes, including the one when a demonstrator tore away a policeman’s shield while other protesters began to hit him on the head. They were pushed back with a spray of tear gas.
“We came here to fight and avoid that they close down our factory because there is no reason for the factory to close down because it is extremely profitable,” said Richard Jouhannet, a worker from the doomed factory in Amiens, who was outside Goodyear’s headquarters on Thursday. “We are fighting in the courts and today we are in the streets.”