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After Michelin and Continental, it is the turn of the Japanese Bridgestone to definitively close its Béthune tire plant, in Pas-de-Calais, which employs 863 people in the manufacture of tires for cars. Union and political reactions have multiplied.
The French government and the unions are worried about the closure of the Bethune plant and the consequences on employment even if the Japanese group Bridgestone claims to want to limit layoffs through pre-retirement and reclassification measures.
Job cuts are on the increase. The German group Continental intends to close, by 2021, its tire factory in Aachen, Germany, which employs 1,800 people. In France, the Michelin group closed its plant in La Roche-sur-Yon, in Vendée, and a site in Germany.
The difficulties in the tire sector are directly linked to the health crisis. The European car market fell by almost 40% in the first half of the year and is expected to remain in decline for the rest of 2020.
But there are also other reasons, such as competition from low-cost Asian brands. Asian tires have taken over the market. Result: Europe faces production overcapacity. Some manufacturers like Michelin have therefore decided to invest in specialized markets such as high-end tires and tires for trucks.
It is a betrayal of the trust that the State and the Hauts-de-France region have placed in Bridgestone by helping the factory for years …
Gabriel Attal, spokesperson for the French government