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French factory workers unite to fight job cuts
"Goodyear Amiens - Rogue Bosses" is the message workers afrom workers at the dommed Amiens plant. Photo Francois Nascimbeni/AFP

French factory workers unite to fight job cuts

Industry workers in France united in protest on Tuesday to show their disgust at a raft of proposed job cuts and closures across the sector. Dozens of riot police have been drafted in after fears frustrations could boil over.

Published: 12 Feb 2013 09:01 CET

Staff at a doomed Goodyear plant in the northern city of Amiens headed en masse to the company’s headquarters near Paris to protest against the tyre giant’s plan to close their factory, threatening the livelihoods of 1000 workers.

There, they were be joined by scores of other workers from companies such as Sanofi, PSA Peugeot Citroên and Arcelor Mittal, which have also recently announced a raft of cuts and plant closures.

Their aim is to join forces to demonstrate to company bosses that they will fight tooth and nail for their jobs. Their determination to take a stand has worried authorities with dozens of riot police being drafted in to make sure there is no trouble.

“We are going to make some noise, not cause trouble,” Franck Jurek, from the CGT union told French daily Le Parisien.  

“We are confident. At the moment it is just a proposal to close the plant and we will make sure it remains just a proposal. We are used to this. It’s the fifth time they have tried this,” he added.

Among the protesters outside Goodyear’s HQ on Tuesday will be workers from the Peugeot factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris, which is also set for closure.

The extent of the decline of France’s ailing industrial sector was laid bare last week, with the publication of a report stating over 1000 factories had closed since January 2009, with the loss of 120,000 jobs.

Last year alone, 24,000 jobs were lost in the manufacturing industry in France, with many more set to go in 2013. Protesters at Goodyear on Tuesday will be hoping to limit the damage.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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