News of Michelin closure taken with ‘great level of maturity’

PACEMAKER BELFAST 3/11/2015' Workers at The Michelin tyre factory in Ballymena, County Antrim,  receive news that the factory will close in 2018 with the loss of 860 jobs. The Ballymena factory produced its first tyre in December 1969 and produces about one million bus and truck tyres per year, The  Michelin company have been warning for a number of years about the threat to the future of the Ballymena plant caused by high energy costs.'Picture Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 3/11/2015' Workers at The Michelin tyre factory in Ballymena, County Antrim, receive news that the factory will close in 2018 with the loss of 860 jobs. The Ballymena factory produced its first tyre in December 1969 and produces about one million bus and truck tyres per year, The Michelin company have been warning for a number of years about the threat to the future of the Ballymena plant caused by high energy costs.'Picture Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A Ballymoney worker at the Ballymena Michelin Tyres plant which is to close with the loss of 860 jobs has spoken of how employees took the news “with no anger or aggression”.

The employee, who does not want to be named, said that the announcement of the closure was not a ‘huge shock’ and was probably ‘something which had been in the pipeline’ for a while.

Michelin Tyres gathered all 860 workers together on Tuesday afternoon to announce the run-down of the Ballymena factory by mid-2018.

The closure will have a massive impact on the local economy as the plant employs workers from all over Ballymoney and Moyle.

“I did a quick head count and in one department there must be about 50 from the Ballymoney area so in the whole plant I’m sure there’s over 100 people from here,” the employee told the Times.

After the announcement was made, production was stopped until Thursday morning to allow staff to digest the details.

The Ballymoney worker added: “There is an option of relocation and training to move to the other plants in Stoke, Dundee, Italy or France but that would probably be more suitable for people who are career-driven and intending to make a career with Michelin.

“But I would say that most of the workforce have an average service of about 20 years, you have men in there who joined straight from school and have never worked anywhere else.

“But I have to say that though the mood was sombre, there was no aggression, no anger about the place. It was accepted with good grace but everyone just had their heads down.

“It’s a huge shock to the system as Michelin is a big employer in Ballymoney.

”And that mood has followed through, it has all been taken with a great level of maturity. The only thing that has annoyed some people is that the Ballymena factory is one of the best and is not bottom of the cost league table, some are thinking ‘we have done what you asked of us but we are still gone’.

“Mainly the feeling is that Michelin has always been a great company to work for and everyone hopes that they will look after us as well at the end as they have done up until now.”