Michelin Dundee officially closed its gates yesterday after almost half a century of tyre production at its Baldovie Road plant.
Michelin managers paid tribute to employees and to the city of Dundee as a whole, and they looked forward to the transformation of the site into the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP).
Since the closure was tabled in November 2018, 731 out of 846 employees have found new jobs, entered education or retired.
John Reid, factory manager at Michelin Dundee, said: “The last 20 months have been full of challenges, hard work, emotion and moments of inspiration.
“We pulled together and did our absolute best to help each other get through. Our mission was to find everyone a solution. With some outstanding support from the Michelin Group, Scottish Government and the City of Dundee we’ve seen 731 people do exactly that – a number that many said would not be possible.
“This means we still have 115 of Team Dundee to support to their solution. This will be the sole focus of a team left behind on site for another 12 months. Even with the extreme and unforeseen circumstances we are all in today, I’m confident that all of these outstanding workers will soon find what they are looking for.”
Mr Reid added: “As we close the door on almost 50 years of Michelin in Dundee, having produced hundreds of millions of top-quality, made-in-Dundee tyres, it’s down to us to finish the job. I’d like to thank everyone past and present who made this factory such an amazing place. I especially want to thank the team that for the last 20 months has behaved with the utmost respect, professionalism and bravery. It’s been truly inspirational.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have been one of you for 28 years and to have been your factory manager for the last ten. Today we’re leaving our factory with our heads held high.”
Since production started in 1972, Michelin Dundee made more than 300 million car tyres for customers all over the world. Now MSIP, a partnership between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise, is set to create hundreds of jobs connected to green transport.
Jerome Monsaingeon, Michelin Group representative on the board of MSIP, said: “One of the core values of the Michelin Group is respect for people. It informs everything we do, and it has been demonstrated again here.
“This is an emotional day for many people – not least John Reid himself. I would like to thank John for his passionate leadership, and all employees past and present for their contribution to the Michelin Group.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “The support offered to employees at the factory by Michelin and its partners since the closure was announced has been tremendous.
“It’s heartening to learn that so many have found solutions. I’ve no doubt that efforts will be unstinting to assist the remainder of their high-calibre, skilled workforce.
“Michelin has made a significant contribution to Dundee and its economy over almost half a century.
“While there’s inevitable, and understandable, sadness at the factory closure today, the innovation park which has been born out of it represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our partnership.”
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This is undoubtedly a sad, emotional and poignant moment for the workers of Michelin Dundee and their families – and of course for the wider city. Whilst I am pleased that many of the site’s skilled workforce have secured alternative employment, we remain wholly committed to providing support to those who still need it – particularly at this incredibly challenging time as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is essential – perhaps more than ever before – that we support our skilled workforce, our innovation and manufacturing heritage, which is why I am pleased that the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc continues to progress, providing, I am sure, a fitting and lasting legacy to the site and to the city.”
Alison Henderson, CEO of Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce added: “The workforce of Michelin have been a huge part of the business community of Dundee for a very long time, and the value and strength of the people has been very evident as we’ve seen them work towards the closure of the plant.
“The ambition and determination of everyone to give this place and its people a bright future has been powerful and humbling to witness. We’ll be working hard to support the future of MSIP and those 115 Team Dundee members as we continue the partnership working that’s been a key element of the Michelin way for so long. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone on what will be an emotional day.”