Michelin cutting up to 2,300 jobs in France
Michelin has announced its intention to “evolve” its activities in its France by means of a three-year competitiveness plan covering all of its manufacturing, corporate and administrative operations within the country. The company is taking this step as a response to “profound, structural shifts in the global tyre market” over the past decade that have been “led by the massive influx of low-cost products.” The plan could see up to 2,300 of the 20,000 Michelin jobs in France cut over the coming three years.
Specifically, Michelin intends to improve the competitiveness of its corporate and administrative activities by up to five per cent a year. It also aims for the same increase in competitiveness within its manufacturing operations in France, with the exact figure depending upon each plant’s activities and competitive environment. From the up to 2,300 potential job reductions, as many as 1,100 involve office-based roles and up to 1,200 come from Michelin’s plants. Nearly 60 per cent of the projected separations will be based on voluntary early retirement opportunities and the remainder on Group-supported voluntary severances.
France to remain a key country
“The ultimate goal of this project is for France, the birthplace of Michelin, to remain a key country in the Group’s strategic transformation in the years ahead,” said Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer of Michelin. “Our economic responsibility is to improve our overall performance while developing new high value-added business projects.
“This business responsibility has to go hand-in-hand with a highly demanding commitment to social responsibility, to work with our unions and employees to forge consensus solutions that are as balanced as possible, and to do everything we can to provide exemplary support to people and our host communities in these transformations.”
No plant closures
By re-evaluating each of its ten manufacturing facilities in France, Michelin aims to “drive robust gains in plant performance” over the next three years. The so-called “simplification and competitiveness plan” doesn’t involve the closure of any site; facilities will be modernised with a view towards the production of premium and specialty tyres with high value-added technological content. Details of the associated capital expenditure programme and its implementation process will be specified at a later date.
At the same time, Michelin will pursue its strategy of locating new high value-added businesses in France, particularly in the service, sustainable materials, energy transition and recycling domains. Through Symbio, its joint venture with Faurecia, the company is going to build France’s first hydrogen fuel cell production plant in Saint-Fons, in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region, a project that is expected to create hundreds of jobs over time. In addition, Michelin plans to start up new businesses in France over the next three years in recycling and sustainable materials, with the industrial-scale production of a plastic waste recycling technology in partnership with Canadian-based Pyrowave, and the industrial-scale production of a non-toxic resin by its Resicare subsidiary. Lastly, green chemicals manufacturer Carbios is relocating its headquarters, R&D teams, laboratory and semi-industrial-scale demonstrator to a Michelin site as part of the company’s ‘Parc Cataroux’ programme in Clermont-Ferrand.
Early retirement & outplacement schemes
Michelin says it is “offering to quickly initiate negotiations” with the relevant unions to devise a three-year framework agreement. This framework agreement will cover the process of improving overall performance at each production plant and each corporate and administrative entity. Under the agreement Michelin, will offer a voluntary employee support programme that offers early retirement opportunities all eligible employees and outplacement initiatives.
To implement these measures, Michelin will propose that the unions negotiate mutually agreed annual severance packages that will be used to support the planned changes over the next few years. The company also intends to propose measures for employees who will continue their careers with Michelin, offering these employees options that allow them to pursue their careers within their current region.