Workers to end siege of doomed French Goodyear plant

LILLE, France (REUTERS) - Workers who took two executives hostage at France's Goodyear tyre plant earlier in January are set to end an occupation of their doomed factory after a redundancy payoff deal, labour union officials said on Wednesday.

The idled factory in the northern city of Amiens, where the unions have been fighting for almost a year to secure a better payoff for 1,170 workers, has been occupied since Jan 7.

The payoff deal, for an undisclosed sum, was approved by a vote among Goodyear workers on Wednesday and involved an improved package in return for ending the occupation, union officials said.

Unions have been trying to negotiate redundancy terms with management after Texan tyre tycoon Maurice Taylor withdrew a potential rescue bid on the grounds that French workers were lazy - triggering a political storm.

After a court rejected their most recent appeal against the plant's closure, members of the hard-left CGT union locked up production and human resources directors Michel Dheilly and Bernard Glesser.

The two men were released after 24 hours but the occupation continued.

The so-called "boss-napping" was the first high-profile case since a spate of them in 2009 prompted conservative ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to give police powers to intervene by force if necessary.

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