Workers at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. factory in France kidnapped two of their managers on Sunday, demanding better severance packages in the event that the factory closes.
Workers held the director of production and human resources chief at the factory in Amiens for two days before police intervened on Tuesday.
Union leaders refused to release the pair, until their demands were met. They say Goodyear will make no promises that the plant will remain open.
“The show is only just beginning,” said Mickael Wamen, leader of the CGT union at Goodyear’s Amiens-Nord factory.
They were burning tires outside the plant, keeping the area under a cloud of black smoke, local authorities said.
Police entered the factory Tuesday afternoon and freed the hostages.
Goodyear has been trying to sell or close the plant for the last five years, often meeting a stalemate with unions.
French unions have taken executive hostages in the past to get what they want.
Local authorities denounced the activity.
“Condemning this kind of action, the local authorities are calling on the management and the union to return to the table and renew a constructive dialogue,” CGT said in a statement.
While bossnapping is a crime punishable up to five years in prison, workers are rarely prosecuted for the offense.