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Bridgestone: local elected officials and executive toughen up

2020-09-22T08:26:11.671Z

After the announcement of the closure of the Béthune site, the president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand calls on the executive to open a dialogue with the Japanese management of Bridgestone.



"

An arm of honor has been given to us, we are going to fight for the employees and for the idea of ​​the political fight

", hammered this Tuesday the president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand.

In the aftermath of the crisis meeting organized with the management of Bridgestone, local elected officials and the executive want to toughen up the tone: everything will be done to save the Béthune site.

To read also: Bridgestone: the government wants to "fight to save jobs" in Béthune

Less than a week after the announcement by the European management of the closure of the tire factory, a real social and media showdown began, while the fate of the 868 employees of the site remains in suspension.

First, the Minister for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, wants a second opinion on the economic analysis made by the management of Bridgestone.

"

The government is going to do an independent audit

," she said in the morning of France Info.

For two years, the executive has been urging the group to detail its strategic orientations.

However, Agnès Pannier-Runacher does not believe that the government has been led by boat since “

all the employees have so far kept their jobs

”.

"

What matters to us now is that there be an industrial employment project in France for these employees,

" insisted the Minister.

Focus on the production of large tires

The management of Bridgestone indicated Monday in a press release that the closure of the Bethune site was "

the only option

", but that it intended "to

actively participate in the search for solutions for the site and the territory

".

Bridgestone is one of the main partners of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

It can be a lever against the direction, everything is trying

The president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand

Guest of LCI's morning show this Tuesday, Xavier Bertrand unveiled one of the solutions envisaged.

According to the elected official, the management had been working for a few weeks on an investment scenario of “

160 to 200 million euros

” to focus mainly on the production of large tires.

Funding from the state and local communities is also envisaged,

” explained Xavier Bertrand, affirming that the manufacture of larger tires was the solution of the future for the sector in France.

Because small tires are competing with cheaper Chinese tires.

The market is in overproduction,

”said the elected official.

However, if the State succeeded in getting Bridgestone to implement such an industrial project, the factory would not be able to retain all the employees.

There would be a significant investment in the machines.

Our mission would then be to find a job for employees of non-guarded staff

”.

A meeting will be held in the next two to three weeks, to examine the various alternative scenarios to a site closure.

Pressure on the group's Japanese management

Xavier Bertrand spoke on Monday evening, for the first time, with Jean Castex on the Bridgestone file.

"

I asked the Prime Minister to get personally involved

."

He wants the French state to obtain a dialogue with the Japanese head office of Bridgestone, in order to inform them "

of the untrustworthy behavior of the European management

".

"

These are not the values ​​of the Japanese,

" he insisted.

Read also: Tire Europe in constant struggle to survive in the face of Asian competition

The executive subtly recalled yesterday that the Japanese group also owns the automobile maintenance and repair company Speedy, well known to the French.

This morning, Xavier Bertrand spoke about the fact that Bridgestone is one of the main partners of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

It can be a lever against them.

Everything is trying,

”he hammered.

Moreover, in the years to come, another battle will have to be waged at European level to avoid an excessively abundant supply of tires.

"

French industrial sovereignty must be accompanied by a European relay,

" insisted Xavier Bertrand.

He then advocates the establishment of more European standards, so that Chinese tires of "

inferior quality

" cannot enter the market.

"

We must impose standards that are favorable to our products, and go faster in the approval of used tires

."

The need for compensation for aid?

From the National Front to the trade unions, criticism of the government continues to multiply.

Some elected officials are campaigning in particular for Bridgestone to “

reimburse

” the recently paid public aid, including 1.8 million euros from CICE, or regional aid to the tune of 620,000 euros.

Read also: Bridgestone: Marine Le Pen denounces the government's “hypocrisy”

For the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, the example of Bridgestone in Béthune shows the need for a law which would make it possible to demand the repayment of public aid paid to companies which do not "

play the game

" of maintaining their activities.

Guest of the morning of Europe 1 on Tuesday, he estimated that the management of the Bridgestone factory "itself

organized the leak of its activity

" to other industrial sites.

"

When a company does not play the game of maintaining its activity

", it must "

reimburse the aid

", he continued.

For her part, the Minister for Industry asserts that Bridgestone has received "

no gift

", recalling that the CICE aid, received in 2017, does not constitute "

special aid

".

"

We only paid partial unemployment, which allowed employees to keep their jobs,

" she insisted.

In addition to the more than 800 potential jobs lost, the closure of the Bridgestone plant in Béthune also worries about the local impact.

The closure of the site "

will be dramatic for the city, for the district and the whole economic ecosystem which turns around

", regretted this Tuesday on Sud Radio Alain Griset, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and la Relance, in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2020-09-22

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