Bridgestone plant shutdown: a headache for the state

The day after the announcement of the closure, the government wants to push the management of the tire manufacturer to review its position. There is little room for maneuver.

Employees and trade unionists demonstrate on Thursday in front of the Bridgestone factory in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais).
Employees and trade unionists demonstrate on Thursday in front of the Bridgestone factory in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais). PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

“Revolting”, “unacceptable”, the announcement of the closure of the Bridgestone plant in Béthune by 2021 aroused the indignation of Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister responsible for Industry. The latter should visit the site at the beginning of next week to meet with employee representatives and local elected officials. It is necessary “Fight to try to develop another activity. Wider tires than those produced in Béthune ”, suggests Bruno Le Maire.

But what is the government’s leeway to convince and even constrain the management of Bridgestone? On a strictly legal level, Bercy has no way of opposing this closure project. “The state cannot do everything, underlines Deborah David, lawyer at De Gaulle, Fleurance et Associés. If the Bridgestone Group has decided to close a site, for whatever reasons, it is a business decision and the state cannot oppose it.

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