Goodyear workers jailed for detaining bosses at French factory

Amiens (France) (AFP) - Eight former workers at a Goodyear tyre factory in France were ordered Tuesday to spend nine months in prison for detaining two managers for 30 hours in a labour dispute.

The severity of the sentences -- the former employees were each given 24 months behind bars, but 15 months of the terms were suspended -- angered unions.

"We think the decision is very unjust and we are going to appeal," said one of those sentenced, Hassan Boukri.

Another worker, Reynald Jurek, said the verdict was "purely political".

The incident in January 2014 followed six years of increasingly bitter relations between employees and management at the US company.

Several dozen workers occupied the factory in the northern town of Amiens and refused to release the head of human resources and the production manager.

Lawyers told the trial in November that the employees had taken action over anger at the "lack of answers" from management at the factory, where 1,143 people were employed.

The CGT union said the verdict was "unacceptable" and claimed the government was seeking to "intimidate all workers who are fighting for their rights and their jobs".

The local branch of the ruling Socialist Party also condemned the verdict, saying the employees "had fought with dignity to defend their workplace and their jobs".

Labour disputes in France have deepened in recent months as the economy has stagnated.

Employees at Air France are also facing legal action over an incident last year in which an executive's shirt was ripped off his back and he scrambled over a fence to escape angry union militants.