This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

In Grim French North, Worker Unrest Looks To Last

By LORI HINNANT

AMIENS, France (AP) â¿¿ Workers at a dying French tire factory who have become the butt of American jokes staged a last-ditch protest on Tuesday to defy anyone â¿¿ plant owner Goodyear, prospective buyers, even the French government â¿¿ to try and take their jobs away.

They've say they've been fighting for 62 months to keep the factory operating and prevent Goodyear from shifting work to China. Goodyear says the tires made in their factory no longer sell, and the European market for tires â¿¿ just like for cars â¿¿ is contracting. But the workers' efforts seem doomed in a larger sense as a labor model that features high wages, long vacations and short work weeks is increasingly being called into question amid a weak economy.

It's a growing problem across France, particularly as the Socialist government of President Francois Hollande is under pressure from the European Union and financial markets to focus on cutting debt, rather than trying to prop up loss-making industries.

The protests at the plant in the northern city of Amiens came after efforts to find a new buyer for the struggling factory fizzled. The most promising prospect, an American executive, sent a letter last week to the French government saying that the country's economic model is too worker-friendly and discourages investment.

The factory's closure was announced five years ago by Goodyear when workers refused to accept any layoffs. It will be at least 2014 before the French government intervention runs its course and the plant ultimately shuts down.

"I have visited that 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!" Maurice Taylor, the CEO of Titan tires, wrote to the French government official trying to find a buyer. "How stupid do you think we are?"

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,979.13 +59.54 0.35%
S&P 500 1,986.51 +4.91 0.25%
NASDAQ 4,526.4820 -1.0320 -0.02%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs