Belfast Telegraph

Protesting Michelin staff in Italy show solidarity with their Ballymena colleagues

By Laura Abernethy

Italian factory workers took to the streets yesterday to protest against Michelin plant closures across Europe, including in Ballymena.

The tyre manufacturer plans to cut 1,500 jobs within the next three years in Italy, Germany and Northern Ireland in response to a decline in the European tyre trade.

Earlier this month, Michelin announced that it would close its Ballymena-based plant by 2018, with the loss of more than 800 jobs.

The French firm announced that a slump in the demand for truck tyres in Europe, as well as the advent of cheap Asian alternatives, lay behind the decision. The company has also said that the Oranienburg site in Germany and the Fossano site in Italy are due to close next year.

The strike yesterday by the Fossano employees saw hundreds of people taking to the streets of the Northern Italian town of Cuneo.

The semi-finished products site had already reduced production by 45% since 2009 and almost 600 people are now set to lose their jobs.

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