Wiltshire politicians and Unite union representatives have reacted to the news that Cooper Tire plans to end tyre production at its Melksham plant by the end of 2023. Speaking to local news source, the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, Michelle Donelan, MP for Chippenham, offered her support to workers, while Melksham’s mayor emphasised the longevity and importance of the manufacturing site in the town’s history. With the plant’s 350-strong workforce represented by Unite, union leader Tony Hulbert railed against the timing of the announcement, given the UK’s spiralling cost-of-living crisis.
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe plans to close its UK tyre manufacturing plant in Melksham, Wiltshire by the end of 2023. The company will now begin a consultation process on the proposed closure involving 350 Cooper employees and the relevant employee representative bodies. Previous cutbacks at Cooper’s Melksham plant, one of the few new tyre producers remaining in the UK, were announced in 2018. Car and SUV tyre manufacturing were moved to newer facilities in the company’s manufacturing footprint, such as its plant in Serbia. The remaining functions of the site were the production of motorsport and motorcycle tyres, as well as the company’s Europe headquarters and Technical Center. The merger of Cooper and its new parent company The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was finalised in June 2021 following the announcement of its acquisition in February. Goodyear approved a plan to streamline its global administrative structure in the second quarter of 2022.
Bridgestone Corporation has announced plans to consolidate its aircraft tyre retreading operations in Asia. At the end of June 2023, it will close the Bridgestone Aircraft Tire Company (Asia), Ltd. operation in Hong Kong and transfer production to its Bridgestone Aircraft Tire Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd. facility in Chonburi, Thailand. The closure of the plant in Hong Kong will affect 102 employees.
Bridgestone Corporation has announced plans to close three of its non-tyre production facilities. The Shikoku, Gifu and Gotemba plants in Japan, operated by Bridgestone Diversified Chemical Products, will respectively close in Q3 2022, Q1 2023 and Q2 2023, with their output taken up by the business’s remaining six facilities. Bridgestone expects that the 83 employees at the three plants will continue working for Bridgestone Diversified Chemical Products.
Bridgestone Corporation is currently restructuring its non-tyre Diversified Products business and has announced its intention to close a factory in Japan as part of consolidation efforts related to production of automotive seat pads. It will close the Bridgestone Chemitech plant in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture in the fourth quarter of 2023 and consolidate operations within the three remaining facilities dedicated to automotive seat pad production – Bridgestone Chemitech’s Nabari and Hofu sites as well as Bridgestone Diversified Chemical Products’ Tosu plant.
Last September, Bridgestone announced it would close its tyre production facility in Béthune, France during in 2021. The municipal council of Béthune-Bruay now claims the tyre maker didn’t fully honour the commitments it agreed to back in 2007, when the municipality contributed towards a 32-million-euro investment in the plant. It is therefore demanding that Bridgestone returns the subsidies it invested.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company intends to permanently end production at its Gadsden factory in Alabama, USA. The company says this closure comes as part of its strategy to “strengthen the competitiveness of its manufacturing footprint by curtailing production of tyres for declining, less profitable segments of the tyre market.”
Bridgestone EMIA has resumed production at its European manufacturing plants in Bari (Italy) and Lanklaar (Belgium). The Béthune (France) plant will reopen tomorrow, 21 April 2020. This follows the 14 April news that production in all Bridgestone plants located in Spain (Burgos, Bilbao and Puente San Miguel) and Russia (Ulyanovsk) had recommenced. Today’s announcement means that Bridgestone EMIA’s full manufacturing network has restarted production with the exception of its Indian and South African plants, which remain closed for now.
Michelin’s plan to close its truck tyre factory in La Roche-sur-Yon, France took a step forward last Thursday when it signed an employee support agreement with four trade unions. This agreement with the CFDT, CFE‑CGC, SUD and FO unions followed 12 weeks of negotiations that took place between October and January.
The Michelin Group informed the 619 employees at its tyre production facility in La Roche-sur-Yon, France this morning that it will close the site by the end of next year. In addition, 74 people at Michelin’s Cholet plant, employees working in roles related to the supply of rubber mixed to the La Roche-sur-Yon site, are also affected by the closure.
Michelin calculates that closing its tyre factory in Dundee will cost the company £240 million until the end of 2021, however it expects to partially offset this cost with £60 million of savings during this period and then make annual savings of £40 million thereafter.
According to a statement issued on 7 September, Pirelli has disposed of its car tyre factory in Guacara, Venezuela and all other activities within the country. As Pirelli’s Venezuelan subsidiary was deconsolidated as far back as 31 December 2015, the tyre maker says the operation’s divestment “has no financial effects on the group.”
After a stoppage of two days, Pirelli’s tyre factory in Guacara, Venezuela is said to be operating again. Venezuelan daily El Universal reports that the country’s Ministry of Labour has intervened in the matter, and this led to production recommencing on 29 August.
The Pirelli factory in Guacara, Venezuela hasn’t escaped the economic turmoil the country is currently experiencing, and plant workers received a nasty surprise upon arriving for yesterday’s shift. Local news sources report that the factory has been shuttered as it lacks the raw materials needed to maintain production. Pirelli is also allegedly unable to pay the wages of its 704 unionised workers and approximately 175 other employees in Guacara following the introduction of currency reforms on 20 August.
Production at the Michelin tyre plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland came to an end last week. Although the facility won’t officially close until 30 June, The Belfast Telegraph writes that production ended last Wednesday, with the final tyre finished the following day.