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Bridgestone: a scenario presented to save the Bethune plant, unions and politicians are now awaiting the manufacturer’s response



The government had promised a progress report, three weeks after the announcement of the closure of the Bridgestone plant in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais). He had also promised a second opinion, led by the firm Accenture, the first conclusions of which detail a scenario to save the site and which resembles the plan put in place seven years ago in Italy to save the Bari plant.

>> Bridgestone factory in Bethune: how Italy prevented the closure of its site in Bari seven years ago

A scenario planned to maintain the production of three million tires per year in Pas-de-Calais. This would require substantial investments, of the order of 100 million euros. A sum necessary to buy more recent machines in particular. On the flip side, 460 to 560 employees would keep their jobs while they are 843 today. They would also be asked for productivity gains, between 25 and 40% according to the firm Accenture.

The inter-union nevertheless welcomed this scenario rather favorably. But the ball is now in the court of the management of Bridgestone, explains Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region: “This investment of 100 million euros, the State, the Region and the local communities are ready to go, and not symbolically, not by putting only 10, 20 or 30%. If it is a beautiful project that holds the road with the stimulus plans, we know how to do it. But the only thing behind it is that they tell us if it is yes or if it is not. And if they slam us the door, they will have to assume. “

Assume, in the judicial field because the employee’s lawyer, Stéphane Ducro, is convinced of it, the closure of Béthune was prepared: “Bridgestone invested 250 million euros in 2017-2018, including zero euros for Béthune. They killed Béthune.” What to judge, if necessary, that the dismissals were unfair. But we are not there yet. Discussions are continuing. A new appointment is already scheduled within three weeks.

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