By Katherine Clarkson
Hundreds of French workers rallied in Paris yesterday and burned tyres to protest about the planned shutdown of a Continental tyres plant.
The angry demonstrators chanted slogans as they gathered at the Elysee Palace in a bid to avert the closure of the German-owned tyres factory in nearby Clairoix.
Continental announced last week that it was going to close the plant, which employs 1,120 workers, in 2010. The company stated the move was necessary in the wake of the global downturn and the collapse of the auto industry.
The tyres firm predicted overproduction of 15 million tyres this year and a production total of only 100 million, down from 110 million last year.
Earlier this month the director of the site was pelted with eggs as he tried to address angry workers. Unions are protesting against the site’s closure as Continental made £25 million in profits in France in 2008.
France’s government has said the announcement of the site closure was not legal, as the company’s central works council was not notified, a fact which is contested by Continental.