Michelin to join search for new work as tyre plant rescue fails
New role: Work will begin to find other work at the factory
Michelin and Scottish government agencies will seek a new role for the tyre plant in Dundee after talks failed to persuade the company that it could continue with manufacturing at the site.
Instead, the French company will work with the government and its agents to find “new economic and employment opportunities”.
Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, who compiled the Scottish Government’s proposition to Michelin, will lead the work to transform the future of the 845-job site which will stop making tyres as scheduled in 2020.
Jerome Monsaingeon, most recently managing director of ATS Euromaster, Michelin’s tyre retail subsidiary in the UK, will be project leader for the partnership.
Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Michelin has confirmed that, despite the offers of further Scottish Government support, structural market changes mean that the continued manufacturing of tyres at the Dundee site is not viable and that tyre production will therefore cease in 2020.
“Our shared aim is now to secure a long-term future for the site and to generate significant employment there.
“I am pleased that Michelin have agreed to work in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and other partners to develop the next phase of their presence in Scotland, including the skills and the capacity of their workforce.
“We will now work together to transform the site into a key location for new economic and employment opportunities in manufacturing, remanufacturing, recycling and low carbon transport, with Michelin sharing the Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change and low carbon vehicle commitments.
“And we will ensure that the workforce is fully supported to benefit from these new opportunities.
“We remain fully committed to achieving the best possible outcome for the Michelin site and its workers and I am confident we will be able to secure a positive future.”
John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said: “This is a really positive outcome. Everyone involved in this partnership will work extremely hard to transform the Michelin site.
“We will channel our shared values and priorities to create a significant number of jobs and we will develop a facility that will benefit the economy of Dundee and beyond. In parallel with this work, Michelin will be supporting employees and doing everything we can to help them find the best outcomes possible.”
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council said: “The commitment of the company and the partners in the working group could signal a new and exciting future for the Michelin plant in Dundee.
“Creativity, imagination and ambition are the hallmarks of our city and all of them will be brought to bear on finding a way to generate new opportunities and a sustainable outcome.
“We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get on with the business of putting flesh on the bones of this commitment, always with the understanding that there are still significant challenges to be overcome.”
Jerome Monsaingeon has been managing director for subsidiaries of the Michelin Group in Europe and the Far East. He headed the group’s partnership with the French authorities ahead of the climate conference COP21 and most recently he was managing director of ATS Euromaster, Michelin’s tyre retail subsidiary in the UK.
Responding to the news that Michelin’s decision to cease tyre manufacturing in Dundee has not changed, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said: “There are now two priorities for Michelin. Firstly, Michelin must guarantee that the redundant workers receive the same redundancy terms as those from the Ballymena plant. Secondly, we need swift agreement on their continued investment in the site.
“The company know that Dundee has been good for business and will continue to be so if they make a commitment to the city. They also have an obligation to Dundee as the city has been good for them for many years.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, called news of an end to tyre manufacturing “deeply troubling and a major blow for the workforce, their families and the wider community.”
He said: “It is now essential that the SNP government fights hard to deliver new work at the Baldovie plant to protect jobs and skills.
“This must include stepping up its work with trade unions and local authorities in order secure a viable future for the workforce.
“Scottish Labour is ready to provide constructive advice and support to ensure we protect these jobs and skills in Dundee.”