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Dundee’s Michelin factory to close with 845 job losses

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The Scottish government has described as “devastating” a decision by Michelin to close its Dundee factory, which employs 845 workers.

The tyre manufacturer has confirmed it will shut down the Tayside plant by mid-2020.

The factory was opened in 1971 and makes, exclusively, 16-inch and smaller tyres for cars.

Michelin said the plant had been rendered unsuitable due to changes in demand and competition from cheap products from Asia.

In a statement on its website, the company said: “Despite the group’s continuous efforts, and the factory employees’ dedication to making the site economically sustainable through the implementation of several action plans – €70m has been invested in recent years to modernise the site – the accelerated market transformation has made the plant unsuitable and its conversion is not financially viable.”

It said it will also work with “local stakeholders” to help create enough new jobs in the area for affected workers and will begin a consultation with employees and trade unions on the closure plans over the next fortnight.

John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said: “I have been part of Michelin Dundee for 26 years and I am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by the team here.

“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.

“However, the market for the smaller tyres we make has changed dramatically and permanently, and the company has 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.”

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty has said closure of the plant would be a “hammer-blow” for Dundee.

The Scottish government’s economy secretary, Derek Mackay, said he was told last week that closure was a possibility.

Upon receiving confirmation, he said: “This will be devastating news not just for those who work at the Michelin plant, but their families and the whole of the city of Dundee.

“My immediate priority is on trying to find a sustainable future for the site, that will protect jobs, and I will leave no stone unturned.

“I will be in Dundee on Tuesday and hope to meet with representatives of the workforce, the city council and the management team to discuss whether there are viable options for the future of this site.”

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