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Closure of Bridgestone: “We feel a change of position but no final decision” from the Japanese, explains the mayor of Béthune



“Today we are told: ‘yes we are going to look but we did not say that we accept'”, explains Monday, October 19 on franceinfo Olivier Gacquerre, UDI mayor of Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), after the proposal made on Monday by the government to Bridgestone of a scenario allowing the safeguard of 460 to 560 jobs on the site of the factory that the Japanese group wants to close. This industrial project put forward by the Accenture firm, which plans to maintain tire production on the site, requires restructuring and 100 million euros of investment.

“We feel a change of position, but not yet a firm and final decision, and above all, we are not told what the conditions will be that employees will have to accept in order to fit into this model”, notes Olivier Gacquerre. At the end of the meeting which was held Monday afternoon in Bercy with the representatives of the employees, the local elected officials, and the Minister Delegate in charge of Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Olivier Gacquerre remains cautious: “It seems to me quite interesting, he said, on condition that the assumptions of profitability or competitiveness – which remain to be defined – are acceptable”. In other words, continues the mayor of Béthune, “the idea is not to arrive in a plan where, finally Bridgestone says ‘well me I remain open, but under such, such, such, such condition’, but at such a level of conditions that the employees could accept it and therefore put the blame on the employees “, warns Olivier Gacquerre.

“This discussion is in any case positive”, recognizes the mayor of Béthune who assures that he is “obvious that today, this is what we wanted for 4 years, to have a discussion with Bridgestone to finally arrive at what we have today as a conclusion: just to discuss a redeployment of the tool, on the product, to allow this company to be competitive “. Olivier Gacquerre recalls that “the challenge is both to save jobs and then to start preparing an exit scenario for those who could be kept in employment, because, he explains, you have heard that it would be necessary to prepare a form of reclassification for, if I understood correctly, between 30 and 40 employees “.

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