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Union struggles lead Goodyear to close plant in France

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U.S. tire maker Goodyear said it was closing its northern France plant and laying off 1,173 workers after lengthy discussions with union representatives ended in failure.

"Closing the factory is the only option after five years of unsuccessful negotiations," said Goodyear Dunlop Tires France in a statement reported by Agence France-Presse. The company could not remain profitable in the face of union demands and weaker product demand, according to the report.

Company Chairman Henry Dumortier expressed condolences for workers and their families.

"We are deeply disappointed that five years of negotiations were not enough to reach a compromise with representatives of workers at Amiens Nord," he said in the AFP report. "Today's announcement was the only option left to us."

The decision to shut the factory is a political hit for President Francois Hollande, who toured the factory during his campaign and called for more workers' rights, AFP reported. Meanwhile, Amiens Mayor Gilles Demailly, a Socialist, called Goodyear's decision "unacceptable" and called for meetings with the country's industrial renewal minister to talk about this "national issue," AFP reported.

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