In Béthune (Pas-de-Calais) the Bridgestone page definitely turned on Thursday 12 November. It was the Minister of Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, on the spot, who announced it at the end of an express negotiation meeting which lasted less than five minutes. The Japanese tire giant has “close the door“to the alternative recovery scenario proposed by theState. A blow for the employees and the region.
In front of the factory gates, shortly after the announcement, no demonstrators. No banners either. Only a few supports for employees from the road, honking. In the factory, employees are at work behind the production lines, despite the news. “In a few months, there will be nothing left and we will be without a jobone of them explains. One of his colleagues adds: “We are angry, very sad!”
Maximilien joined the teams for more than a year and a half, “Beyond our own opinion, our need to work and earn money, there are things that come into play that go beyond our odd jobs apparently.”
We undergo and then that’s it.Maximilien, Bridgestone employee
Others are more resigned. They had been expecting it for weeks, explains Patrice. He spent a whole part of his life working for the Japanese tire giant. “It idles, so it closes. No one has arms anymore, no one wants to work or fatten Bridgestone. We don’t want to leave with nothing in our pockets. “
In the company on the other side of the road, Richard thinks first of all the families of the factory workers. “We know some people. It won’t be easy for everyone I think. I wish them good luck especially. There may be some who will be replaced on the right to the left, but when we move there is the road to do, kids in high school, college. “
In the city center, the announcement of the closure has spread like wildfire. At the Le Khedive tobacco shop, manager Paul does not understand. he worries about his clients who work there, but also about his business. “I have a lot of clients who work at Bridgestone”, he explains.
There are quite a few who just bought a house, I don’t know how they’re going to get out.Paul, manager of a bar-tabac in Béthune
In the meantime, the standoff will continue. Bridgestone ensures in a press release that it has already identified ten opportunities, including four well-defined projects. Still too vague for the inter-union of the northern site.