The official agreement to create the Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee was signed on Monday night.
The Memorandum of Understanding will see Michelin work with the Scottish Government and other agencies to create a viable future for the French company’s Dundee site once tyre manufacturing ceases in 2020.
The Innovation Parc will aim to deliver hundreds of new jobs by creating new opportunities in manufacturing, remanufacturing, recycling and low carbon transport.
Michelin announced last month it is ending tyre production at Baldovie due to falling demand for 16-inch tyres and competition from cheap imports from the Far East.
An Action Group was set up in order to try to save the 845 jobs that will be lost because of the closure.
Although Michelin was adamant it would not reverse its decision, it agreed to the creation of a Michelin-Scotland Alliance that will work towards the transformation of the site and the creation of employment opportunities through the development of a Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc.
However, the five-page document is not legally binding.
Scottish Government economy secretary Derek Mackay said: “I am pleased we have been able to secure a joint commitment between Michelin, Scottish Enterprise and Dundee City Council to secure a positive future for the Michelin Dundee site and the workforce.
“I welcome Michelin’s formal commitment to work in partnership to develop the next phase of their presence in Scotland, including the skills and the capacity of their workforce and the transformation of the site.
“This agreement confirms our shared aim to secure a long-term future for the site and to generate significant employment there.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do everything in its power to support the repurposing of the site which will become a key location for manufacturing, remanufacturing, recycling and low carbon transport in Scotland.”
A dedicated Programme Office has already been established to help drive phase one of Michelin-Scotland Alliance projects forward .
Michelin secretary general Remi de Verdilhac said: “We are delighted to be joining the Michelin-Scotland Alliance to help ensure a bright future for the Dundee economy and the best possible outcome for all those affected by the intended closure of Michelin’s tyre manufacturing operations in the city.
“I would like to express my gratitude first and foremost to our workforce who have reacted with great dignity and professionalism in the light of recent events. Their future is our priority.
“I would also like to share how much we are looking forward to working with Team Scotland in the upcoming months and years to develop the Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc which aims to leverage the strengths of the local economy to pave the way for a vibrant, innovation-led future for Dundee.”
Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise added: “Michelin-Scotland Alliance partners have a shared ambition to realise opportunities that will not only secure a long-term future for the site in Dundee but will sustain investment and strong employment opportunities whilst capitalising on Scotland’s strengths as a trailblazer in low carbon innovation.
“The signing of this agreement marks the start of a journey. We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge but we firmly believe there’s a win win where Dundee and the sizable site at Baldovie, along with its dedicated workforce, could have a starring role in delivering Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “The signing of this agreement is an important milestone in our collective effort to deliver the best possible outcome for the Michelin workforce and for Dundee.
“The Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc has the potential to deliver significant employment and investment opportunities while placing Dundee firmly at the forefront of low-carbon technology.”
Marc Jackon, convener of the Unite union at Michelin Dundee, said: “Michelin could have walked away after their announcement but the company have listened, which must be acknowledged.
“However, the reality is that a significant number of jobs will be lost. Unite throughout this process is determined to get the best deal for every employee on site whether it is for those who wish to leave or those who wish to find new employment on site. Delivering these objectives is our priority.”