Michelin employees return to work as talks continue
The firm's 845 workers in Dundee learned this week that the factory would close within two years.
Staff at the Michelin tyre factory in Dundee are returning to work today after finding out the plant would close within two years.
The factory's 845 employees were given time off to come to terms with the news after the decision to shut the site became public earlier this week.
Michelin said the market for premium smaller tyres such as those produced at the Tayside factory has dropped significantly due to an increase in cheap imports from Asia and a shift to larger car tyres.
The French firm said it was not economically viable to produce small, low-cost tyres at the Dundee site or switch to the production of larger tyres.
One worker spoke to STV News in the early hours as he returned to work at the factory.
"We just have to see what happens, we know what's happening but 20 months down the line is a long way away," Gary Preston said.
"When you've worked here a great number of years, it's a shock."
Mr Preston said that ironically he had just celebrated 25 years at the company this week.
He's hopeful that the plant can be saved.
"Hopefully, just for all the younger people. I mean I'm getting on a bit but the younger people I feel for, its going to be difficult."
"When you've worked here a great number of years it's a shock."Gary Preston
Talks between the Scottish Government, trades unions and Michelin representatives are ongoing in the hopes of protecting jobs and securing a future for the factory.
Michelin bosses have given economy secretary Derek Mackay until the end of the month to come up with a plan that could save the threatened site.
Mr Mackay said the tyre maker had agreed to give him a hearing "in about three weeks' time" so he can put an alternative proposal to them.
The minster has travelled to Paris to hold talks with senior figures from the French-based firm at the weekend.
Mr Mackay said he still had hope for the factory's future, adding: "When I expressed to them the things we are doing in Scotland, our manufacturing, our innovation, raising the skills and aspirations of our country, I think they took an interest in that.
"So I want to put the best proposition possible to them."
He called on the UK Government to commit additional funding to the Tay Cities deal, which brings together the governments in Edinburgh and London, along with the local council and others, to try to boost the local economy.
The UK Government has announced £150m of cash for this, with Holyrood ministers pledging £200m.
Mr Mackay said he was "open" to providing additional resources, but said Westminster must do the same.
The minster earlier told MSPs the Scottish Government would "leave no stone unturned" in efforts to save the plant.