Job cuts at Michelin: “We will be extremely attentive to compensation”, deputy Michel Fanget

Job cuts at Michelin: “We will be extremely attentive to compensation”, deputy Michel Fanget

The French tire manufacturer announced Wednesday the elimination of thousands of positions, without forced departures.

In front of the entrance to the Michelin factory in Clermont-Ferrand, January 6, 2021 (THIERRY ZOCCOLAN / AFP)

The Michelin group will cut up to 2,300 jobs in France “Within three years”, without forced departures. The tire manufacturer aims “An improvement in its competitiveness of up to 5% per year” for tertiary activities and for industry. “We will be extremely attentive to compensation”, declared on franceinfo Michel Fanget, Modem deputy of Puy-de-Dôme, son of Michelin employees.

franceinfo: What do you think of this decision by the Michelin group?

Michel Captures: We need to follow this precisely, Michelin indicates that layoffs will not be dry, that there would be early retirement or voluntary departures, to preserve its competitiveness and fit into the future. This problem has always arisen. In the 1980s there were 70,000 employees, currently there are around 10,000. There have been regular adaptations. In the 1990s, there had already been a severe dismissal plan that had been made. François Michelin came to the city council to explain to us the ins and outs of the decisions taken at that time. So this is not something that is new. What interests us are the compensations that are planned, we will be extremely attentive to this and I intend to approach Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher next week so that we remain very vigilant with regard to announcements.

What types of compensation are you considering?

We think about how this will translate on an industrial level. Currently, we absolutely want to focus on industrial sites and produce in France. At the same time, we are told that Michelin wants to invest in activities with high added value, in particular in the development of a plant for hydrogen fuel cells. We understand these necessary transitions, but they must not be to the detriment of employees, they must be supported. With regard to the manufacture, I denounced in the 1990s the fact that it was making a profit and also laying off workers. There is something recurrent between the balance that is necessary and the need to constantly adapt to the market.

What about the Clermont-Ferrand site? Did the Covid play a role?

Michelin is rather the top-of-the-range tire, but it is clear that there is hardly any industrial production in Clermont-Ferrand. On the other hand, Michelin is investing heavily in a research center near the city. So there are always regular adaptations that we understand. Our concern is to follow very closely what is happening so that we are listening to all those who may possibly be suffering from the situation. I don’t think things were considered with the Covid crisis. A plan like this has been anticipated. I do not see a relationship or windfall effect with the Covid.