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France reaches deal with Goodyear workers, ends standoff over factory

PARIS--French officials and protesting workers at a Goodyear tire plant in the northern French town of Amiens that's been looking to close reached an agreement on Wednesday that ends a year of standoff.

The accord came after 10 days of negotiations among the government, the company and unions. The office of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the “end of conflict protocol” puts an end to the occupation of the factory by workers demanding new negotiations over severance packages.

So bitter was the standoff that workers took two Goodyear managers hostage earlier this month, and freed them only after police intervened. The lengthy saga has made the plant an emblem of France's labor tensions.

France's minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, said in a statement that the accord opens the way to an offer by U.S.-based Titan International which, the minister said, would guarantee 333 jobs at the site for four years.

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