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France usually seems on the high of employee productiveness comparisons with different European economies. But firms with far-flung operations say that output can lag behind decrease price, extra productive manufacturing websites, creating one other incentive to shift manufacturing.

Bridgestone is shuttering its 863-employee manufacturing facility in Béthune, an industrial city in northern France, after warning for a number of years that its productiveness trailed its different websites in Europe. Union representatives have accused the corporate of not investing sufficient to make the plant, which produces tires for small vehicles, extra environment friendly.

Final 12 months, Bridgestone proposed sustaining jobs on the extremely unionized manufacturing facility if staff agreed to extend their working shifts to 34.7 hours every week from 32 for a further hour of pay. Unions responded angrily, and over 60 % of staff rejected it.

This summer time, Bridgestone stated it will shut the plant, citing overcapacity within the European marketplace for small tires. Mr. Macron’s authorities scrambled to barter with the tire maker to maintain a portion of manufacturing and jobs. However this month, Bridgestone stated it couldn’t afford to proceed working the manufacturing facility at any price, and would relocate manufacturing to Poland, Hungary and different lower-cost websites.

“It’s a query of efficiency,” a Bridgestone spokesman stated of the choice. “The price of producing tires in Bethune is the very best in comparison with our different European websites, and the working time per particular person is weaker,” the spokesman stated.

Whereas lower than 5 % of jobs losses in France in recent times have been due to offshoring, Mr. Mouhoud stated, such layoffs are straightforward fodder for populist ire and go away an enduring shock to communities.

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In Béthune, considered one of many cities in northern France that has confronted industrial decline, authorities officers warned of a “brutal” financial and social shock to households, in addition to native suppliers and companies that profited from the manufacturing facility.


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