Dundee, UK – Groupe Michelin is to close its tire plant in Dundee, Scotland by mid-2020 with the loss of 845 jobs, the company informed employees there on 5 Nov.
The Dundee site, which opened in 1971, manufactures only 16-inch and smaller tires for passenger cars, explained a Michelin statement.
This market, it said, has faced serious difficulties in recent years due to a structural decline in demand for these tire sizes and competition from low-cost, entry-level products from Asia.
These factors “have made the plant unsuitable and its conversion [to produce other types of tires] is not financially viable,” said the French group.
As well as enhanced redundancy packages and early retirement measures, Michelin said it will offer comprehensive assistance to employees seeking to start new careers.
Commenting on the decision, John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said the proposal would come as a “a huge blow” to the company employees and to the city of Dundee as a whole.
“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,” he added.
According to Reid, the market for the smaller tires, made at the factory “changed dramatically and permanently” prompting the company 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,” Reid further added.
ERJ has learnt that there are no concrete plans to transfer the capacity to any other Michelin plant at this point.