Michelin Announces the Closure of its La Roche-sur-Yon Plant “By the End of 2020”

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Michelin Announces the Closure of its La Roche-sur-Yon Plant "By the End of 2020" 1

The tyre manufacturer, Michelin promises the 600 Vendée employees “they will remain within the company in France”.

The chopper fell: threatened for several weeks, the Michelin plant in La Roche-sur-Yon, which employs 619 employees, will close “by the end of 2020, ” announced Thursday 10th October 2019 the French tire giant, a decision strongly contested by the unions of a company considered very profitable.

Affected by market difficulties and competition from low-cost Asian tires, the brand at Bibendum had already announced two weeks ago the closure by 2021 of its plant in Bamberg (southern Germany), which employs 858 employees to produce car tyres.

The management will propose “an employee support plan” of La Roche with early retirement measures and internal and external mobility schemes, according to a group statement.

“We played the game to keep our jobs”

“Michelin will give every employee concerned the opportunity to stay in the company in France,” promises the world number two tyre, also committing to launch “a major public-private project to give a new future at the site »Vendéen, which has been manufacturing truck tires since 1971.

The closure decision was announced Thursday morning to the staff of the factory, on-site, by Michelin executives. The tone is mounted, some employees insulting officials by shouting “assassins”, “liars” or “crooks,” said a journalist from AFP.

“We played the game to keep our jobs,” said bitter, Sandrine, 42, in the plant since 2008.

“We were constantly asked to change our schedules and we did it (…). And thank you is that we are fired.”

“Our goal is for all employees to find a job quickly,” and to “verify that the job they have found is of good quality”, within or outside the group, particularly in “a Vendée territory that is very competitive. dynamic, “assured AFP a source close to the management.

In addition, 74 people working at the Cholet plant (Maine-et-Loire) to manufacture “gum mixtures” for La Roche-sur-Yon ” are concerned by the closure project “. “Beyond the early retirement measures,” each “will be offered a new position on the site” of Cholet, said the group.

The closure of the Vendée plant will also have repercussions on the positions of 13 employees in Montceau-les-Mines (Saone-et-Loire), 2 in Vannes and 1 in Poitiers, but all will remain on their site without contract modification at AFP , told AFP the human resources department of Michelin France.

An employee in front of the Michelin site of La Roche-sur-Yon on October 10, 2019, after the announcement of his next closing.
An employee in front of the Michelin site of La Roche-sur-Yon on October 10, 2019, after the announcement of his next closing. (© AFP / LOIC VENANCE)

“Great sadness for the employees”

“For years, we have tried to maintain the site, but we can not, the market conditions no longer allow,” said the president of Michelin, Florent Menegaux, in an interview with the daily Ouest-France .

“The site is small and, despite the investments we have made to try to give it a critical size, it is not sufficiently efficient in terms of industrial cost.”

This is due to the “difficulties of the market for high-end heavy-duty tyres, both in Europe and abroad”, notably with an expected European market without growth “and” exacerbated competition “.

An insufficient argument for the SUD Michelin union, which denounces a “betrayal”. Employees “are not responsible for the calamitous strategy of margin and price (…) that leads to this social disaster”, said the union, calling for an “unlimited strike” and “an appointment urgently” with the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.

“We are sacrificing jobs” for “a goal of short-term financial profitability,” was outraged by AFP Jean-Christophe Laourde (CFE-CGC).

Laurent Bador (CFDT) on his side expressed a “feeling of despondency and immense sadness for employees.”

“They had done a lot of work over the last few years. They have the impression of being released in the middle of the countryside, “he continued, saying that Michelin” has the means “to” find a solution “for everyone.

The group employed some 110,000 full-time equivalent employees at the end of 2018, including more than 20,000 in France, where the company has around fifteen industrial sites.

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