Five decades of tyre production at the Michelin Factory in Dundee have come to a premature end because of the coronavirus crisis.
In an interview with the Tele Factory manager John Reid said that while the decision announced by the company yesterday was sad he believed it was the right one.
He admitted he found it very difficult and emotional to tell the factory’s hundreds of employees of the decision and said that there had been a few tears among the workers.
John said: “This has really just brought forward what was going to be happening in June. It’s a sad end to 50 years of production in Dundee but the decision is the right one in the best interests of all our workers and their families.
“Michelin is now going to support us to support our workers through this very difficult time .”
Michelin Dundee will not restart production when Covid-19 ‘lock down’ restrictions are lifted.
Michelin had initially planned to pause production until April 13, when it intended to restart manufacturing until the factory’s eventual closure in June.
But the company believes the growing challenges caused by the Covid-19 outbreak mean that resuming production is unviable and unwise.
The decision has been taken in agreement with the Unite union and all employees will continue to be paid at their normal rate until the end of June.
Bob MacGregor, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “It’s a very sad day for the people of Dundee that 50 years of tyre production at the Michelin plant has come to an end before the summer when it was scheduled to finish.
“However, Michelin has acted as a responsible employer throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has agreed to pay the workers their full wages up until the summer. Unite continues to work with the company to find a long-term future through the repurposing of the plant.
Shona Robison, MSP for Dundee City East, said: “The news that Michelin will stop production is not unexpected given the current Covid -9 challenges, however it is will still be a sad time for the remaining employees and the end of an era for the city . It’s important that this decision has been reached in agreement with the unions and workforce, who will continue to be paid until the end of June.”
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, who himself was forced to self-isolate due to coronavirus rules, said: “This announcement, while perhaps not unexpected, is still a very sad one for Dundee, marking as it does the end of decades of tyre production in the city.
“Having come to terms with it ending and the implications of that for so many people, this is not the way that anyone of us wanted it to go. That said, I know that the workforce continues to receive significant support from the Michelin team which will be even more important at this time.
“Coronavirus is going to change many aspects of life as we know and when we emerge from it, as we certainly will, one of those things will be that Dundee no longer has a Michelin Factory producing tyres for Europe’s vehicles.
“But what we will have is the new Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc and all of the opportunities it will offer and I look forward to the prosperity it will bring.”