Bridgestone has rejected proposals by the state and the unions to keep its plant in Béthune in operation.
Bridgestone has closed the door. Bridgestone is leaving the site of Béthune, announced Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Industry, about the tire manufacturer’s plant located in Pas-de-Calais (62). The Japanese company had announced last September its intention to close this production center too unprofitable and too expensive to modify to remedy it according to it, then the State was involved in negotiations with the managers and employees of the site as well as local elected officials.
The various parties had then signed a method agreement opening five months of discussion to find an alternative to the closure, but these proposals were “swept aside” in “five minutes” by Bridgestone according to Stéphane Ducrocq, lawyer for the factory’s inter-union union.
In search of a buyer
The Bridgestone plant in Béthune currently employs 863 people. It produces small-diameter tires, which are less and less in demand and are increasingly challenged by low-cost Asian production.
Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, assures that Bridgestone “is not going to leave like that” and says he expects the Japanese company to support the site’s employees. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, for her part, promises that the government will support the plant’s team in finding recovery solutions.
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