Michelin in talks over Ballymena settlement

Staff representatives and Michelin managers at the French tyre maker’s Ballymena, Northern Ireland truck tyre factory are discussing redundancy packages following the news that the factory is to close in mid-2018. Michelin representatives declined to comment on individual cases, but local press reports suggest particular offers have already been made.

The Belfast Telegraph quotes unnamed “sources within the workforce” as saying that workers have been offered packages of “four-and-a-half-weeks’ earnings for every year worked, plus add-ons”. According to the reports, the offer spans a maximum of 30 years’ service and so-called add-ons include a loyalty bonus of 0.5 per cent of a worker’s annual salary multiplied by the length of service. If the current deal is accepted, the Belfast Telegraph reports that staff will receive a £3,000 acceptance payment. Furthermore, the suggestion is that workers willing to relocate to another plant are being offered £25,000 if they remain within the UK.

However, while a Michelin spokesperson confirmed to Tyres & Accessories that talks are underway, the firm declined to give further details: “We are in the process of completing a 90-day consultation with our employees. At this stage we are presenting the conclusions of that consultation, but until all the details are finalised and agreed we cannot say anything further.

“Our focus continues to be on the wellbeing of our staff and exploring all options to help them to find employment when the time comes.”

Whatever does come of the settlement talks, the closure of the Ballymena truck tyre factory is expected to result in the loss of 860 jobs.

Last week, Belfast Live revealed how Liam Neeson (who originates from Ballymena) has warned politicians the future of Northern Ireland is at stake. Neeson is quoted as saying: “Attention must be paid. Ballymena and Northern Ireland must be made more attractive to potential international employers. They would be lucky to have such an infrastructure and powerhouse of able and willing workers. I believe that nothing less than the future of Northern Ireland is at stake here.”

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