Michelin factory closes doors after almost 50 years in Dundee

Tyre giant says vast majority of its workforce have found new jobs or training.

Michelin has manufactured tyres in Dundee for almost 50 years. Getty Images
Michelin has manufactured tyres in Dundee for almost 50 years.

The Michelin tyre factory in Dundee is officially shutting its gates two years after announcing it was going to close.

More than 730 of its 846 workers have found new jobs, retired or moved into education, the company said.

Production ended in March due to the coronavirus lockdown and Michelin decided then it would not try to reopen before its scheduled June 30 shutdown date.

The tyre factory, which first opened in 1972, was one of Dundee’s biggest employers.

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John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said: “The last 20 months have been full of challenges, hard work, emotion and moments of inspiration.

“We pulled together and did our absolute best to help each other get through. Our mission was to find everyone a solution.

“With some outstanding support from the Michelin Group, Scottish Government and the City of Dundee we’ve seen 731 people do exactly that – a number that many said would not be possible.”

Michelin had initially planned to restart production after April 13 and carry on until the plant’s scheduled closure.

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But the company concluded that it would be “unviable and unwise” amid the “growing challenges” caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision was taken in agreement with the Unite union.

Since production started in 1972, Michelin Dundee has made more than 300m car tyres for customers all over the world.

Now Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc, a partnership between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise, is set to create hundreds of jobs connected to green transport.

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “Michelin has made a significant contribution to Dundee and its economy over almost half a century.

“While there’s inevitable, and understandable, sadness at the factory closure today, the innovation park which has been born out of it represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our partnership.”

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said today was a “sad, emotional and poignant moment for the workers of Michelin Dundee and their families”.

She said: “Whilst I am pleased that many of the site’s skilled workforce have secured alternative employment, we remain wholly committed to providing support to those who still need it – particularly at this incredibly challenging time as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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