In France's grim, jobless north, worker unrest endures beyond US firm's taunts

AMIENS, France – Workers at a dying French tire factory who’ve become the butt of American jokes are staging a day of last-ditch protests to try to save their jobs.

The protests Tuesday at the Goodyear plant in the northern city of Amiens come after efforts to find a new buyer for the struggling plant have fizzled. An American executive who considered buying it sent a letter last week to the French government saying that France’s economic model is too worker-friendly and discourages investment.

Union leader Mickael Wamen says Goodyear “wants to bring us down to the level of a Chinese worker who earns one euro and lives in misery.”

Industrial sites across France are struggling in Europe’s downturn. French unemployment is more than 10 per cent and rising.