FULDA, Germany-Goodyear's Gummiwerke Fulda GmbH unit has reached a final agreement with workers to expand to a seven-day work schedule.
Meanwhile, Goodyear France S.A. management is proceeding with plans to add Sunday shifts by early next year at the Amiens auto and farm tire plant despite union opposition to the change.
The change in Fulda will create about 150 new jobs at the 1,350-employee facility, a spokesman said. The added manpower will be used primarily in the production of Fulda-brand high-performance tires.
By agreeing to add three shifts a week to the 18-shift schedule now in place, Fulda's work force contributed to making the factory more competitive and more attractive for future investment, the company said.
Goodyear will start looking immediately for new employees, and begin phasing them in early 1996. Adding new employees and extra shifts will require some modernization measures and an expanded storage capacity, a spokesman said, declining to disclose the project's cost. Employees who work the weekend shifts will be paid a 50-percent higher wage plus a special Sunday premium.
In Amiens, most of the unit's 1,550 employees struck Sept. 20-Oct. 5 to protest a seven-day workweek. Goodyear intends to proceed with the scheduling plan with or without union approval.
The company said the strike was endangering the Amiens factory's future and management accuses union leaders, especially those with the Communist Party-dominated general workers union, CGT, of distorting the terms of the proposal as originally laid out in September.
The chemical workers union-CFDT-which also represents workers at the Amiens unit-said it is fundamentally against Sunday working hours, but the move to seven-day work schedules at plants elsewhere across Europe has forced it to re-evaluate its position and approach each situation individually.
The situation at Amiens has led not only to criticism of Goodyear, but also to in-fighting among the labor unions representing the workers there.
Goodyear management plans to seek support from local government authorities for the plan, which would create up to 200 new jobs so agricultural tire capacity can be increased, according to a company spokesman. Priority for the new jobs will go to children of current employees and temporary help already working at the factory, Goodyear said. Shift employees working six days a week now will have Saturdays free in the future, Goodyear said, as the weekend shifts will be filled by volunteers and/or new employees.
Seven-day workweek schedules already are in effect, planned or being discussed at Goodyear plants in England and Luxembourg, and Pirelli Group, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. and Groupe Michelin units elsewhere in Europe.