In what may be a poorly timed coincidence the announcement of a notable reduction in Goodyear’s global workforce came just days after the union representing many employees in Germany confirmed demands for more money. On 25 January, union IG BCE shared details of upcoming negotiations on behalf of 25,000 rubber sector workers, naming Goodyear as one of the “large companies” it represents. The union’s income wishlist includes a cost of living pay rise and one-off inflation bonus.
In order to offer a “comprehensive response to evolving employee expectations” about their working environment and conditions, Michelin has entered into a new four-year agreement with the four labour unions representing its workforce in France. The tyre maker and the CFDT, CFE-CGC, CGT and SUD unions signed the ‘People and their Working Environment’ agreement on 5 January 2023.
Michelin and labour unions have signed various successive telework deals covering its workforce in France since 2019 and worked together since the start of the Covid-19 crisis to develop a teleworking vision, strategy and arrangements. On 2 December, senior Michelin management and representatives from four unions signed a new telework agreement.
Giti Tire has responded to allegations of problematic employee relations at its Richburg plant in the USA. Following the publication of a joint letter penned by the United Steelworkers (USW) union and “more than 40 civic, faith and government leaders,” David Shelton, director of industry relations, Giti Tire Manufacturing (USA), states that the tyre maker “always welcomes sincere and legitimate input from our team members and other community members.” He adds that Giti Tire’s policy is to ensure it possesses “all the facts and accurate information” before taking action on such matters and calls upon others to do likewise.
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has determined that passenger vehicle and light truck (PLT) tyres imported from Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand are being sold in the USA at prices that materially injure the local tyre industry. In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined that Vietnam’s government is subsidising PLT tyres that are then sold in the USA at “less than fair value.”
Wheel manufacturer BBS intends to gradually withdraw from the original equipment segment and concentrate on aftermarket business. This decision was announced by Stefan Prutscher, regional secretary of the IG Metall trade union. According to the union, BBS will cut 160 jobs at its Schiltach and Herbolzheim sites in Germany. The wheel manufacturer, which filed for bankruptcy for the third time in summer 2020, will retain 280 jobs.
Tyre production at the Continental plant in Aachen, Germany will cease at the end of next year, if not earlier. This is one of the outcomes of talks between the company and representatives of Aachen plant employees. Continental has also published details of upcoming retraining programmes.
Strong words from one of the unions representing workers at the Continental tyre factory in Aachen, Germany. Speaking with Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, IG BCE trade union chairman Michael Vassiliadis stressed that the planned job cuts “will be expensive”. He also claimed that Continental has turned away potential investors.
Workers Kumho Tire’s Macon, Georgia factory have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union after the final completion of an election last Autumn. According to the USW, workers sought representation to fight “low wages, hazardous working conditions and abusive treatment at Kumho, which ruthlessly harassed and bullied union supporters in an attempt to derail the organizing campaign”.
According to the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), Apollo Vredestein will stop employing temp workers hired through agencies at its Enschede plant from April 2020. This means that almost 150 temporary jobs will disappear in addition to the approximately 750 permanent jobs that the tyre maker plans to shed.
On 27 January, Michelin signed an agreement with global union federation IndustriALL to set up the Michelin Global Works Council. The agreement was finalised by Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer of the Michelin Group, and Valter Sanches, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. Its signing follows nearly two years of discussion and negotiation.
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 U.S. Senator representing the home state of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has written to the tyre maker, imploring it to improve the renumeration and treatment it gives workers at its plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Sherrod Brown, Senator for Ohio, urged Richard Kramer, Goodyear’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, to “take immediate steps” to improve both. He also criticised Goodyear’s decision to recently prevent Members of the United States Congress from touring the facility.
Yesterday the Federation of Chemical Workers of Hungary (VDSZ) announced the start of an indefinite strike at the Hankook Tire factory in Rácalmás, Hungary. With this measure, the trade union is placing pressure upon the tyre maker to modify the terms of the wage increase it announced for 2019. What then is Hankook Tire offering plant workers, and why doesn’t the VDSZ like it?