Hun­dreds of jobs at Miche­lin put at risk

Tyre fac­tory to slash pro­duc­tion by up to a quar­ter

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - GRA­HAM HUBAND

Hun­dreds of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs are at risk after Dundee’s Miche­lin tyre fac­tory re­vealed plans to cut pro­duc­tion by as much as a quar­ter.

Work­ers at the Bal­dovie plant were yes­ter­day told jobs are likely to go as the site ad­justs to new lower pro­duc­tion tar­gets be­ing brought in as a re­sponse to fall­ing global de­mand and a flood of cheaper tyres into the mar­ket from Asia.

New three-year fore­casts en­vis­age a max­i­mum of 5.4 mil­lion tyres be­ing pro­duced at Dundee each year, sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the site’s peak ca­pac­ity of more than seven mil­lion units.

Fac­tory man­ager John Reid said man­age­ment will en­gage with staff, Unite the union and the wider Miche­lin Group ahead of a fi­nal plan for the fac­tory be­ing signed off later this year.

Mr Reid said: “We will ex­plore all op­tions to max­imise the ef­fi­ciency of the plant.”

He con­tin­ued: “Those op­tions could in­clude re­struc­tur­ing work­ing pat­terns and re­duc­ing head­count.”

Unite shop ste­ward Marc Jack­son said: “The re­duc­tion in pro­duc­tion will im­pact the Dundee site more than any other site within the Miche­lin Group.”

We will ex­plore all op­tions to max­imise the ef­fi­ciency of the plant, and those op­tions could in­clude re­struc­tur­ing work­ing pat­terns and re­duc­ing head­count. JOHN REID, MICHE­LIN DUNDEE

Hun­dreds of jobs are un­der threat at Miche­lin’s Dundee fac­tory after a fall in global de­mand for pre­mium tyres.

The French head­quar­tered group said the mar­ket had also been hit by a flood of cheaper prod­ucts from Asia.

Miche­lin stressed it was work­ing to “meet these mar­ket chal­lenges” but man­age­ment at the Dundee site have told the 850-strong work­force they could face job cuts or changes to shift pat­terns – or a com­bi­na­tion of both – as a re­sult of the down­turn.

The site is now slated to pro­duce a max­i­mum of 5.4 mil­lion tyres a year over the next three years, a fig­ure which falls roughly 25% short of the fac­tory’s seven mil­lion-plus peak pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity.

“Miche­lin Dundee con­tin­ues to face ex­tremely challenging trad­ing con­di­tions, pri­mar­ily due to the in­flux of cheap tyres from Asia and fall­ing de­mand for pre­mium tyres in smaller di­men­sions,” Dundee fac­tory man­ager John Reid said.

“Pro­duc­tion for the next three years is fore­cast to be a max­i­mum of 5.4 mil­lion tyres a year, which is sig­nif­i­cantly be­low ca­pac­ity.

“We are work­ing with em­ploy­ees, unions and the Miche­lin Group to meet these mar­ket chal­lenges.

“We will ex­plore all op­tions to max­imise the ef­fi­ciency of the plant, and those op­tions could in­clude re­struc­tur­ing work­ing pat­terns and re­duc­ing head­count.

“Miche­lin Dundee con­tin­ues to ap­pre­ci­ate the hard work and flex­i­bil­ity of its em­ploy­ees, and we will up­date them be­fore the end of the year.”

The move to re­duce out­put from the site comes just 15 months after First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon vis­ited the fac­tory to re­veal a £16.5m up­grade plan.

The in­vest­ment was the lat­est in a se­ries of ma­jor cash in­jec­tions for the Dundee fac­tory in re­cent years and was ex­pected to se­cure the work­force for the next 10 to 15 years.

The fac­tory – which is work­ing with the devel­op­ers of the un­der-con­struc­tion waste-to-en­ergy plant at neigh­bour­ing Bal­dovie in or­der to use the heat it will pro­duce in the tyre mak­ing process – is one of Dundee’s largest pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ers and has been oper­at­ing in the city for more than 45 years.

Marc Jack­son, se­nior shop ste­ward for Unite at Miche­lin Dundee, said the union had been aware of the “challenging” sit­u­a­tion fac­ing the group.

“The re­duc­tion in pro­duc­tion will im­pact the Dundee site more than any other site within the Miche­lin group, as we man­u­fac­ture smaller tyre di­men­sions,” Mr Jack­son said.

“Unite have al­ways worked to­gether with Miche­lin through dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods and we will con­tinue to do so.

“We un­der­stand this is one of the most challenging pe­ri­ods we have faced as one of the main rea­sons for the an­nounce­ment is an in­flux of cheap im­ports from Asia.

“At this mo­ment in time our mem­bers can be as­sured that we will be look­ing to pro­tect their terms and con­di­tions and to max­imise jobs on site.

“The union and the com­pany are work­ing hard to deal with these is­sues and to give the fac­tory the best op­por­tu­nity go­ing for­ward and be as com­pet­i­tive as pos­si­ble.

Ali­son Hen­der­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Dundee and An­gus Cham­ber of Com­merce, said Miche­lin de­served sup­port at what was a dif­fi­cult time for all man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses as Brexit loomed.

“Know­ing Miche­lin Dundee and the man­age­ment of Miche­lin Dundee as I do, they fight con­stantly for the fac­tory here within the global group and they have done that re­ally suc­cess­fully.

“I am sure this is some­thing they will have worked very hard not to do and hope­fully it will be a short, tem­po­rary is­sue.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ing in Dundee some­times op­er­ates a lit­tle un­der the radar but Miche­lin have been strong for a num­ber of years and has seen real growth and in­vest­ment.

“The other is­sue for in­dus­try at the mo­ment is Brexit and what trad­ing with Europe and the wider world is go­ing to look like.”

Dundee Miche­lin fac­tory man­ager John Reid with First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon dur­ing a tour of the tyre mak­ing site last year.

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