CLERMONT-FERRAND, France — Group Michelin and employees at its Roche-sur-Yon, France, truck tire plant have agreed to terms covering the proposed closing of the factory by year-end.
Michelin said the support program, signed by a majority of employee representatives, will include measures such as "inplacement, outplacement and early retirement offers."
Michelin disclosed plans last October to close the 47-year-old factory, stating that it was offering each of the plant's 619 employees opportunities to continue working for the company.
The support agreement offers "flexible job security, enabling every employee who is not eligible for early retirement to pursue his or her career either within the group or externally through outplacement," Michelin said.
Michelin said as part of the "inplacement" package, priority will be given to La Roche-sur-Yon employees when it comes to filling 100 jobs to be created at its Cholet, France, plant.
In addition, the agreement guarantees that employees who are not satisfied with or not suited to their new position within the group will be offered another job at Michelin.
Michelin also said itwould support outplacement schemes for roles in the La Roche-sur-Yon region, while allowing employees to return to the company if unhappy with the new employer.
Furthermore, the agreement initiates an early retirement program for employees eligible to take full retirement by year-end 2025.
This includes some 100 employees aged around 55 years for production operators and around 57 years for managers, administrative employees, technicians and supervisors.
These measures may also be offered to the 74 employees of the semi-finished product operations at the Cholet plant, which supplies materials to the La Roche-sur-Yon site.
Michelin has cited a "structural transformation" of the premium truck tire market, both in Europe and overseas, for its decision to close the factory.
The transformation, according to Michelin, includes a European market with no growth expected, intense competition and an expanding "entry-level" brand segment.
Michelin committed $132 million in 2013 to turn around the plant — consolidating truck tire capacity from another plant in Joue-les-Tours, France—but since has conceded that effort did not achieve the desired improvements in productivity.
This is the second plant closing announced by Michelin in the past several months.
In late September, the tire maker disclosed plans to shut a plant in Hallstadt, Germany, which focuses on the production of smaller rim-size passenger tires, by early 2021, affecting 858 employees.