By Oliver Hall
Workers at a troubled Continental tyres factory in France will be given a minimum pay-off of £45,500 in compensation for the plants closure, union officials have revealed.
The award which will be made to the company’s 1,120 employees at the Clairoix tyres plant is unusually high compared to others recently granted to French workers.
The German tyres manufacturer announced back in March that it would close the factory in response to the global collapse of the market.
Workers at the plant had refused the original compensation offer of around £15,000 and staged highly publicised protests, burning tyres and ransacking offices to convey their anger.
Now management have offered the staff a pay-off starting at £45,500 which would climb to as high as £90,000 for those who have worked at the company for more than 30 years.
Employees would receive their normal salary until October and 85 percent of their pay until 2011 and unemployment benefit, or 75 percent of their salary, until 2014.
The French staff agreed to accept the offer on Saturday and unions said they expected to sign a formal agreement with Continental directors in a little more than a week.
Xavie Mathieu, Continental’s CGT union representative, said: “Solidarity paid off. For three months, our mobilisation never weakened – this demonstrates that power belongs to the people.”
Continental workers’ protests included hurling eggs at directors, burning tyres in central Paris and protesting in front of the company’s headquarters in Hanover.
Continental union representatives said they planned to join workers at rival tyre maker Goodyear to protest against the US company’s plans to cut over 800 jobs in France.