Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Bridgestone South Africa (BSAF) has finalised the process to close down its bias-tire manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
In a 3 Nov statement, the Japanese group said it has set the date of 15 Nov as the plant’s last day of operation, following consultations with workers and unions.
Bridgestone announced its proposal to close the truck, farm and OTR tire production facility in August and initiated a Section 189 notice, along with a 60-day consultative process with the 252 affected workers.
“The proposal to close the plant was not taken lightly and the impact on employees has been taken into account from the outset,” said Jacques Fourie, BSAF chief executive.
“We endeavoured to treat employees with the utmost compassion and fairness to support them through the change, while adhering to all legal requirements and due diligence.”
Bridgestone said the South Africa plant had been under financial pressure in recent years, due to “a variety of economic conditions and industry factors.”
A key factor, said the group, is the global phasing out of bias industrial and off-the-road tires manufactured that are manufactured at the Port Elizabeth plant.
“The unfortunate reality is that the plant is simply unable to produce the radial tire that industry is rapidly moving towards,” said Fourie.
According to the official, upgrading the factory to produce radial tires would have needed an investment in “a completely new multibillion-rand plant”, which he said “is not feasible or justifiable under any circumstances, especially in the current economy.”
BSAF said it was still committed to “serving society with superior quality in Southern Africa” adding that is facility in Brits will continue to fully operate.