Tayside could face an exodus of skilled workers as Michelin employees prepare to leave Dundee ahead of the factory’s planned closure in 2020.
It is understood growing numbers of staff are eyeing moves to Aberdeen, London and even Australia due to a dearth of jobs in the city that match their current salaries.
Michelin bosses say they are offering five-figure relocation packages if former employees find work away from Dundee and the surrounding area.
However, concerns have been raised about the impact on the region’s future fortunes if it loses a large chunk of its skilled workforce.
Drew Morris, a Michelin employee of 34 years, said many of his long-term colleagues were earning £40,000-£50,000 a year and were struggling to find alternative work that offers even half that rate.
“They’re finding that most of the jobs in Dundee now pay around £18K-20K, so they would have to get used to a much lower salary,” he said.
“There are lot of new hotels, bars and restaurants, but these offer transient, minimum wage jobs.
“I do know of people making preparations to leave.
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“Michelin are offering generous re-location packages for areas near Dundee, so some people are looking at Aberdeen. Others are thinking of London and abroad, such as Australia.”
Unite Michelin senior steward Marc Jackson said: “There aren’t a lot of skilled jobs in the Dundee area, but Michelin are doing re-location packages.
“Obviously it’s not a great thing for Dundee, but we have a highly skilled workforce. I’m not at liberty to say how many are moving but it’s not a big number.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander, who is sits on the Michelin Dundee Action Group, a collective aiming to find positive outcomes from the closure, said the group was working “flat out” to find solutions.
He added: “The skilled workforce of Michelin will continue to be in high demand and people will be planning for their future in the longer term.
“Whilst I’m aware of some moving to work elsewhere in the city, many more remain at Michelin, but I’m also aware that a small number will be exploring opportunities elsewhere — they’ll ultimately make the best decision for their family.”
Michelin’s relocation package is £25,000 if a suitable opportunity is available at another of the firm’s factories and £15,000 for a non-Michelin relocation.
To qualify, the new job has to be at least 50 miles from Michelin Dundee and at least 50 miles from the employee’s current home.
John Reid, Michelin Dundee factory manager, said: “We’ve always said that finding the best possible outcomes for our employees is our highest priority.
“As part of that we want to help people find jobs locally and we want to develop job opportunities in and around Dundee that will benefit the area for years to come.
“But we also want to give our people choice and the very best chance to secure fulfilling roles. That’s what the relocation packages are trying to achieve.”