Belfast Telegraph

Michelin statement in full on Ballymena tyre factory closure

Michelin is to end production at its Ballymena factory and has begun consulting with the 860 workers faced with losing their jobs.

The company said: "The proposal to run down the truck tyre factory in Ballymena has been made in light of the significant downturn in demand for truck tyres in Europe since the financial crisis of 2007, which has seen the market decrease by over 5 million tyres.

"This reduced market has been made even more challenging by the huge influx of tyres made in Asia, which have doubled in the last few years, and increased competition.

"As a result, there is a strong need to reduce overcapacity and to concentrate Michelin truck tyre production in larger, more competitive sites.

"Despite great efforts and progress being made in previous years, other European plants are still more competitive than Ballymena.

"The tyre building machines at Ballymena are not capable of making the high tech tyres of the future, and the amount of investment required to upgrade the plant is prohibitive, particularly at a time when that capacity is not required.

"An employee consultation process will begin immediately regarding the run-down proposal. The Ballymena factory currently employs 860 people, and MTPLC is committed to supporting those employees during consultation and in the forthcoming months.

"Michelin appreciates the impact these proposals may have on the employees and local community, and commits to support every employee throughout the process. In the coming weeks we will meet every employee individually to discuss the proposal and the assistance the employee may need.

"Support will include enhanced redundancy payments, training and advice to find new employment quickly. Employees prepared to relocate will be offered a job in UK or European plants with relocation support.

"In addition, Michelin Development, which has helped create more than 400 jobs in County Antrim in the last seven years, is prepared to release more than £5 million to help company start-ups, fund expansion at existing businesses and supply investment to attract new businesses to Ballymena."

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