Scotland’s First Minister has described the closure threat to the Dundee Michelin plant as “devastating for the workers” and wider city.
Nicola Sturgeon pledged the Scottish Government would do everything possible to secure a future for the factory as her fellow politicians spoke of their sadness at the proposed closure of the site and potential loss of almost 850 jobs.
Economy Secretary Derek Mackay, who will visit Dundee today, said: “My immediate priority is trying to find a sustainable future for the site, that will protect jobs.
“I will be in Dundee on Tuesday and hope to meet with representatives of the workforce, the city council and the management team to discuss whether there are viable options for the future of this site.
Devastating news, not just for those who work at the Michelin plant, but their families and the whole of the city of Dundee. My immediate priority is on trying to find a sustainable future for the site, that will protect jobs and I will leave no stone unturned. #Michelin
— Derek Mackay MSP (@DerekMackaySNP) November 5, 2018
“I was informed at the end of last week of the possibility of closure and immediately sought discussions with the senior management team at Michelin.
“I know the workforce and unions have gone to immense lengths to make the plant as competitive as possible to secure its future, and we will leave no stone unturned in trying to protect the future of the Dundee site.”
The news from #Michelin is devastating for the workers there and for Dundee. @scotgov will do everything possible to secure a future for the site and support all those affected by this announcement. Economy Secretary @DerekMackaySNP will visit the city tomorrow. https://t.co/N2zYhSe3Uj
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 5, 2018
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said the plant – which has been producing tyres since the early 1970s – was a vital employer in the city.
“Michelin is part of the fabric of this city,” Mr Alexander said.
“I’ll be working with colleagues and officials to clarify the situation and will work with whoever is necessary in the best interests of the entire workforce and their families.
“Dundee always rallies behind its own and we will again.”
When I was growing up, as far as I was concerned, Michelin was a Dundee company, not a French one. Michelin is… https://t.co/RDYqTx7EJS
— Cllr John Alexander (@CllrAlexander) November 5, 2018
Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the announcement was awful news for the workers and their families and also pledged her support.
“I will work with anyone and everyone to see if this can be avoided,” she said.
“Dundee needs these jobs.”
Awful news tonight for 850 staff in Michelin and their families. I will work with anyone and everyone to see if this can be avoided. Dundee needs these jobs. https://t.co/30LgnWTuJT
— Jenny Marra (@JennyMarra) November 5, 2018
Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, said it was “devastating” for the workforce, their families and the wider Tayside community.
“The Michelin factory in Dundee has provided not just hundreds of well-paid jobs, but much-needed skills and training to a city which has suffered greatly as a result of deindustrialisation,” Mr Leonard said.
North East MSP Bill Bowman said the closure decision was a “hammer blow to hundreds of employees and their families”.
He added: “There will also be a much wider effect among thousands of people across Tayside and Fife.
“I support immediate action to engage the workforce and find them work.”
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Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This is a huge blow for Dundee.
“The Scottish Government must liaise with unions and the firm to work out whether anything can be done.
“We need a government exploring every option to ensure that vital experience is not lost.”
A UK Government spokeswoman said it is a “hugely difficult time” for workers and families.
“The UK Government is in touch with the Scottish Government and other local partners and stands ready to do everything it can to help.”