Five months after the shock of the announcement of the closure of the Bridgestone plant in Béthune employing 863 people, unions and management signed on Friday February 12 the job protection plan (PSE), providing for support for employees, whereas no project of total takeover of the site seems to emerge.
According to management, a “unanimous agreement” was found on the social support measures for employees of the only French factory of the Japanese tire giant, established for 60 years in this town in the former mining area.
“The measures defined will make it possible to respond to individual situations as much as possible and to support reconversion projects” welcomed, according to a press release from management, the president of Bridgestone France Philippe Brunage. The lawyer for the intersyndicale told AFP in the middle of the evening that the signing was “In progress”.
After a last meeting of the Economic and Social Council (CSE) on February 26, the plan will be sent for approval to the Direccte (Regional Directorate for Business, Competition, Consumption, Labor and Employment).
In mid-September, the brutal announcement of the site’s closure knocked out the 863 employees and sparked a political upheaval in a region already affected by the closure of two other tire manufacturing sites: Continental in the Oise (683 employees in 2010) and Goodyear in Amiens-Nord (1,143 employees in 2014).
Projecting the “total cessation of activity” on the horizon of “second quarter 2021”, Bridgestone had invoked “structural market problems”, production overcapacity in Europe and competition from low-cost Asian brands, committing to look for a buyer for the site.
On Tuesday, management announced that if the total takeover of the Béthune plant was “unlikely”, several companies had expressed their interest in the creation of a “multi-activity industrial park”, representative “a potential of 335 to 485 jobs”.