Action group aiming to save Dundee Michelin factory revealed

Action group aiming to save Dundee Michelin factory revealed

Michelin task force announced to help stricken tyre plant

Members of a group tasked with securing a future for the Michelin plant in Dundee have been announced by economy secretary Derek Mackay.

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop and Dundee City Council leader John Alexander will lead the group.

The Michelin Action Group will work tirelessly in the coming weeks to explore all options and provide Michelin with a proposition that demonstrates what support can offered, be it business rates or financial aid, to help retain a presence in Dundee.

The factorys 845 employees were told earlier this week the plant would close its doors within two years.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: I have been clear that the Scottish Government will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find a viable and sustainable future for the plant and its highly skilled workforce.

Michelin said the market for premium smaller tyres such as those produced at the Tayside factory has dropped significantly due to an increase in cheap imports from Asia and a shift to larger car tyres.

The Michelin Action Group has three weeks to come up with a plan to stop the closure of the Baldovie factory – or at least find a new lease of life at the site for the 845 staff based there.

Despite confirming they intend to close the plant in 2020, Michelin have agreed to look in detail at any proposals for the future of the plant that are brought forward by the action group or trades unions.

Mr Mackay said: “I have been clear that the Scottish Government will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find a viable and sustainable future for the plant and its highly skilled workforce.

Ms Sturgeon said the news was “devastating” for employees and their families – and called on the UK Government to pump an extra £50 million into the region.

“The Michelin Action Group will work tirelessly in the coming weeks to explore all options and provide Michelin with a proposition that demonstrates what support can offered, be it business rates or financial aid, to help retain a presence in Dundee.

It came as Prime Minister Theresa May faced calls from Dundee’s four SNP parliamentarians to commit to working with the Scottish Government to support the workforce.

“Working with the workforce and industry experts, the group will examine how the plant could be repurposed for the future if Michelin decide to press ahead with the closure.”

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council added: “This Action Group will hit the ground running with one focus, to retain Michelins footprint in Dundee.

NICOLA Sturgeon has insisted she will leave “no stone unturned” as ministers desperately scramble to save a Dundee factory threatened with closure.

“I want to thank the Scottish Government in particular, for their unwavering support for the workforce and the city at this difficult time.”

Tim Allan, Deputy Chair of the Tay Cities Enterprise Forum and President of Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Advice will also be sought from a range of manufacturing leaders including Dr Hamid Mughal, Co-Chair of the Strategic Leadership Group of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.

Stewart Hosie MP, Shona Robison MSP, Chris Law MP and Joe FitzPatrick MSP have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Scotland following the announcement from Michelin that their Dundee plant will close by mid-2020.

Speaking at First Ministers Questions, she said: This news this week has clearly been devastating for the 845 workers at Michelin and for their families and the wider community in Dundee. My thoughts are with all of them at this time.

The plant, at Baldovie in Dundee, employs 845 people and contributes around £30 million per year to the local area in wages alone.

Mr Mackay told BBC Radio Scotlands Good Morning Scotland: I will be pulling together the best expertise, to put the best possible proposition to Michelin. They, whilst not wanting to revisit the decision, are at least giving me a hearing.

The Scottish Government has indicated its willingness to provide £200 million for the Tay Cities Deal, but in his budget two weeks ago, the Chancellor stated that the UK Government would provide £150 million, falling short of the local authorities request for at least £200 million from each government.

He has tasked Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, to work on a repurposing proposition looking at different options for the plant, which employs 845 people.

Commenting Stewart Hosie MP said: I am heartbroken by this announcement and absolutely devastated for the workers, their families and for the local community.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be speaking to the Trade Unions, the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council to explore options and to identify how we can best work together to support the workers at Michelin and secure the future of the site.

The people of Dundee are already feeling betrayed by the UK Governments shortchanging of the city through the Tay Cities Deal.

He said: The decision was validated on October 9 by the executive committee at Michelin and we have been working since then to try to organise ourselves ready for this very difficult communication, and obviously identify and understand what support mechanisms we can put in place to help our people at the end of this process.

The Prime Minister must not ignore Dundee again and must do everything she can to support the workforce, the families affected and the city as a whole.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay confirmed Michelin notified the Scottish Government of the decision last Wednesday, five days before its 845 workers learned their fate. Michelin blamed cheap Asian imports flooding into Europe and a growing trend of car manufacturers looking for smaller tyres.

Shona Robison MSP said: This has been devastating news for the workers, their families and everyone in Dundee. Michelin is an iconic business in the city and its workforce have over the years shown huge commitment and flexibility.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and I met earlier this week with representatives of the workforce & local managers to discuss the future of the Dundee plant.

Employees were called to an emergency meeting at the French firms Baldovie plant yesterday to confirm its closure by 2020, but it has emerged management made the decision nearly a month earlier.

The Scottish Government has committed £200 million to the Tay Cities Deal and, given the announcement about Michelin, I today reaffirm my call to the UK Government to match this investment and provide additional support to help deliver a future for Michelin in Dundee.

The combined heat and power facility is being built by energy company MVV in partnership with Dundee City and Angus councils and Michelin, which had planned to use heat generated by the plant.

Chris Law MP said: This was not only devastating news for many of my constituents and their families but also for Dundee. They rightly need quick action from all partners, including the UK Government.

The Chancellor earlier this week claimed that the UK is now benefiting from a boom in fiscal revenues. The UK Government now have a clear opportunity to use this boom and prove that austerity across the country is now truly over, by providing the necessary support to the Michelin workforce and by working with all partners to ensure that the workers and their local communities are not let down.

Paul Carey, managing director of MVV Environment Baldovie, would not be drawn on the economic implications on the incinerator project when the factory closes.

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