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Michelin to close tyre plant with loss of 845 jobs

Union bosses have said the closure will represent a 'hammer-blow' for Dundee.

Dundee: The factory has struggled over the last year.
Dundee: The factory has struggled over the last year. STV

Michelin is set to close its tyre factory in Dundee by 2020.

Around 850 people work at the plant in Baldovie Road, with Michelin one of the biggest private employers in the city.

Union bosses have said the closure will represent a "hammer-blow" for Dundee and the manufacturing industry in Scotland.

A statement released by Michelin said: "Despite the group's continuous efforts, and the factory employees' dedication to making the site economically sustainable through the implementation of several action plans - £61m has been invested in recent years to modernise the site - the accelerated market transformation has made the plant unsuitable and its conversion is not financially viable.

"Against this backdrop, the Michelin Group has had to announce its intention to employees to close the Dundee factory by mid 2020.

"The priority now is to provide the 845 employees of the factory with the most effective support possible to enable them to face the consequences of this difficult decision.

"In line with its principles, the group will implement a personalised support programme for each of the factory's employees.

"In addition to enhanced redundancy packages and early retirement measures for employees at the end of their career, Michelin will propose a comprehensive plan to assist the employees concerned to start a new career as quickly as possible.

"This plan will include intensive support to find a new job, relocation assistance, and tailor-made programmes including skills retraining."

https://stv.tv/news/north/1432553-the-historic-timeline-of-dundee-s-michelin-factory/ | default

The tyre manufacturer previously warned in September that over a three-year period production capacity was to be reduced due to an influx of cheap foreign imports from Asia into the European market and falling demand for premium tyres in smaller dimensions.

'I understand that these proposals will come as a huge blow to our employees and to the city of Dundee as a whole. It's also a very personal blow for me.'
John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee

John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said: "I understand that these proposals will come as a huge blow to our employees and to the city of Dundee as a whole.

"It's also a very personal blow for me. I have been part of Michelin Dundee for 26 years and I am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by the team here.

"This factory has faced incredibly tough challenges before and we have come through thanks to the hard work and flexibility of our people and the union, and the backing of the Michelin Group. However, the market for the smaller tyres we make has changed dramatically and permanently, and the company has to address these structural changes.

"The proposals are nothing to do with the UK's decision to leave the EU, and they are absolutely not a reflection of the performance of the plant or the people who have worked so hard here for so many years.

"I am totally committed to supporting our employees throughout the whole process and beyond, and I know that commitment is shared by the Michelin Group."

'The workforce can be assured Unite will fight tooth and nail to save our factory, we will leave no stone unturned to keep this factory open.'
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary

Ahead of Michelin's statement, union chiefs said they would fight the closure.

Unite Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: "Unite has been aware of the challenging market situation facing the Michelin Group.

"This has been primarily due to the cheap foreign imports from Asia and as a result falling demand for premium tyres in smaller dimensions, which the Dundee factory specialises in producing.

"If the media reports are confirmed by Michelin, this will be a hammer-blow for Dundee. It would be devastating and a betrayal of the workforce who have made major changes to working practices at the site in order to secure its long-term future.

"The workforce can be assured Unite will fight tooth and nail to save our factory, we will leave no stone unturned to keep this factory open.

"Unite will work day and night to ensure that all options remain on the table."

Scottish Enterprise allocated £4.5m into new production machinery in addition to a £12m investment by the Michelin Group to support increased demand for larger tyres in the Dundee factory last year.

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