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French court rules for Continental, against workers

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Representatives from Continental AG and the workforce at its Clairoix, France, plant will meet again today to try to iron out their differences stemming from the planned closing of the facility. Continental is ceasing production at the passenger tire plant because it is has worldwide "surplus capacities of 15 million passenger tires."

The meeting follows a French court's ruling that Continental followed procedure when announcing the closing, scheduled for the spring of 2010.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance (high court) of Sarreguemines dismissed all charges brought by the joint works council against Continental AG. The dispute centered mainly on the allegation that in the case of the planned project aimed at discontinuation of production in Clairoix, company management had not fully adhered to the procedure required by French law, whereby employee representations are to be informed and consulted with, and the terms of the working agreement signed by the parties on Sept. 12, 2007.

"Our Continental France subsidiary was ruled to have acted correctly throughout in informing and consulting with the members of the joint works council," says Dr. Bernhard Trilken, head of worldwide production for the Continental Passenger and Light Truck Tires division.

"We take the occasion of this court decision to emphatically reaffirm that Continental AG has consistently respected and complied with all legal stipulations. We hope that we can now quickly move on to an objective discussion of the necessity of this project and the next steps to be taken in it."

According to Continental, it notified the members of the joint works council of the project at an informal get-together on the morning of March 11th, 2009. Then, according to French law, the plant's works council was informally notified. Finally, the plant employees were informed before the company went public with its plans.

Trilken says the company intends to provide "the widest possible assistance to all employees concerned."

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