An Action Group set up to save the threatened Michelin plant in Dundee from closure will meet for the first time today amid a row over £8 million of taxpayers cash handed to the firm.
The French tyre giant announced last week it planned to close the facility in 2020 with the loss of 800 jobs, prompting widespread anger among the workforce.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will convene the inaugural meeting of the Michelin Action Group in the city this morning.
It is seeking to develop alternative proposals to put to Michelin with the aim of securing a sustainable future for the plant.
Mr MacKay said ahead of the meeting that the group will seek advice from a range of manufacturing leaders in Scotland.
He said: “Combining the expert knowledge of national and local government and our enterprise agencies, the group will seek advice from a range of manufacturing leaders and the local workforce – those who know the plant and workforce inside out – to explore all options for the future of the Michelin plant and its highly-skilled workforce.
“Despite confirming they intend to close the plant in 2020, Michelin have agreed to give our proposition a hearing and so time is off the essence.
“The Michelin Action Group will work tirelessly in the coming weeks to produce a proposition that outlines what can be done to help retain a presence in Dundee and examine how the plant could be repurposed for the future if Michelin decide to press ahead with the closure.”
It emerged yesterday that Michelin has secured almost £8m in Scots taxpayer funded grants over the past decade for the plant.
Scottish Enterprise paid out £1.5m to modernise the site in June last year, with the money spent on the first electronic tyre curing technology to be installed in a large Michelin plant anywhere in the world.
Three years ago, £1.1m was given to the company to establish a logistics hub to increase the “longevity” of the Dundee operation and in 2011 Scottish Enterprise announced a £5.2m investment of taxpayers’ cash in the factory.
Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It’s important that when the public purse is opened for private companies, especially giant multinationals, there’s a guarantee of lasting benefit to the community.
“Michelin have not gone bust. They still have vast assets and if they do walk away from Dundee, they shouldn’t be taking taxpayer-funded equipment with them.”