VIDEO: ‘Still hope’ for future of Michelin Dundee factory, says Derek Mackay

Scottish Government finance secretary Derek Mackay has said he still believes Michelin Dundee can be saved.

The MSP also said there is “still hope” for the future of the tyre manufacturer and is setting up an action group to explore its future.

He will then make the case for the factory to Michelin bosses in a bid to make them reconsider the decision to shut down the Baldovie plant.

© DC Thomson
Derek Mackay at the Michelin factory in Dundee.

He made the pledge during an emergency visit to the city in the wake of news that the factory will close in 2020.

Workers arrive at the Michelin factory in Dundee ahead of the closure announcement to staff.

The action group will first meet on November 12.

However, Michelin insists they will not revisit the decision.

Mr Mackay said: “We will present to Michelin in the coming weeks.

“It is right to pause the Tay Cities Deal to look at how it can help.

“Despite (Michelin) not wanting to revisit the decision, they will meet with me so that I can put a proposition to them.

“And that is why I have some hope, and that is why I’m energised to do everything I can to try and support the workforce here, who I stand shoulder to shoulder with.

“There is 850 jobs here, even if there was a downsizing I still believe there is a future for Michelin in Dundee. I still believe it is worth fighting for and I am not throwing in the towel.”

The Scottish Government was told about the decision to close the factory, which will see about 850 jobs lost in Dundee,last week.

Mr Mackay said they could claw back the £4.5 million of Scottish Enterprise funding the factory received last year but he is more concerned now about finding a way to save the factory and jobs.

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He said: “I have met members of Michelin’s Group Executive and they have agreed to consider a proposition that we will bring forward, to secure a sustainable future for the plant.

“I will be convening an action group to explore all options to secure a future for the plant and its highly-skilled workforce. I will chair an initial meeting in Dundee on Monday with the action plan being taken forward by Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, and council leader John Alexander. ”

And Mr Mackay said he was told by Michelin management that while Brexit was not to blame, the uncertainty caused by it was “unhelpful”.