Leading tire manufacturer Michelin pushes forward on international restructuring programme while unions demand respect for the affected workers.
France-based Michelin is one of the market leaders in the tyre industry. The multinational has operations in 179 countries and employs over 115,000 workers. The company has for many years professed a loyalty to quality of life for its workers, however current corporate behaviour in France, Colombia and Algeria shows precisely the opposite values.
In Colombia 460 Michelin employees, members of Sintraincapla and Sintraicollantas, had seen their employment conditions dismantled over recent months in what must be preparation for their mass dismissal. Management disrupted production to then present the loss of productivity to the Ministry of Labour as grounds for mass sackings. The administrative tricks are a common tactic in Colombia when a company prepares to close a production site.
The effective closure of Michelin’s Colombian subsidiary Icollantas will close the Chusaca plant on the outskirts of Bogota that produced heavy vehicle tyres, and the Cali plant that produced tyres for tourism. The 460 dismissed workers have conducted vigils at the factory gates calling for dialogue with the company.
Once again the Colombian authorities have sided with the company in this conflict with workers.
In the company’s home country France the encouraging announcement at the beginning of June of an €800 million investment in job creation was coupled with the cutting of 726 jobs at the Joué-lès-Tours plant in 2015. The job cuts are a result of the company’s efforts to group all heavy vehicle tyre production at one site in France, la Roche-sur-Yon. FCE-CFDT is pushing for genuine social dialogue at the company headquarters to seek alternative solutions to this potentially catastrophic cut for the Joué-lès-Tours area.
Michelin will offer 480 displaced Joué-lès-Tours workers jobs at other plants in France and will offer the remaining 250 early retirement.
Michelin workers in Algeria are also being affected by the company’s restructuring plan. The current month of June has seen the sale of the Hussein Dey factory announced with Michelin production to cease before the end of the current year. Hussein Dey workers have been promised continued employment with the purchasing company Cevital, but this must be ensured.
IndustriALL supports its affiliate FCE-CFDT in calling on the company to act in a socially responsible manner through this restructuring. Dialogue has begun and FCE-CFDT are analysing the company’s proposal at this stage. The Secretary of the company’s European Works Council is FCE-CFDT’s Cyrille Poughon.
The production streamlining effort does include creation of low numbers of jobs at Michelin plants in Montceau-les-Mines and Le Puy-en-Velay. The company will invest €220 million at its research facility in Clermont-Ferrand.
In his letter to the President of the Group Michelin, Jyrki Raina said:
IndustriALL Global Union clearly expects that the management of Michelin reviews its decision to close down the factories causing job losses, and keeps the constructive dialogue with the relevant unions to restore the current situation.