Hundreds of jobs at Michelin put at risk
Tyre factory to slash production by up to a quarter
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.