Economy Employees go to court to push back the closure...

Employees go to court to push back the closure of the Béthune site

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The Bridgestone plant in Béthune – F.Launay/20 Minutes

  • A week after the announcement of the final closure of the Béthune plant, a collective of employees took legal action on Thursday.
  • They are trying to slow down the planned closure of the site, claiming a sudden break in commercial relations with the group

They don’t let go. A week after the announcement of the final closure of their factory in May 2021, employees of Bridgestone Béthune seized Thursday the judicial court of Lille for interim relief. They are trying to slow down the planned closure of the site, arguing a sudden break in commercial relations with the group, their lawyer announced.

“The first summons was handed over to Bridgestone France this morning,” said Fyodor Rilov, who represents the “Freedoms of Bridgestone” collective, grouping according to its president a “small quarantine” of employees, breaking with the inter-union.

A collective breaking with the inter-union

The closure of the Béthune site “will result in the termination of the contract for the sale of tires to Bridgestone Belgium, its only customer”, an operation “subject to rules”, the Commercial Code providing for “a period of notice” which may to go up to 18 months within the framework of old commercial relations, explained Mr. Rilov.

We ask the judge “to order the continuation of commercial relations, and therefore of production for eighteen months”, which will allow “the employees to keep their jobs and their salaries” during this period, and “could lead Bridgestone to review his projects, ”said the lawyer during a press briefing. The hearing was set for December 15 but could be postponed given the delays in transmission to the Japanese group.

Establish a balance of power with management

A second procedure is in preparation, this time aimed at seizing the commercial court to ask it, considering that the closure of the Béthune site endangers the existence of Bridgestone France, “to appoint a provisional administrator to save the company against decisions of its management, ”added Me Rilov.

“We will see what we get,” commented the president of “Affranchis” and ex-CGT delegate David D’Hornes, pleading for a “balance of power” with the management while “the objective of the inter-union is to continue negotiations and remain calm ”. The Japanese tire giant confirmed last Thursday its plan to close in 2021 its factory in Pas-de-Calais, which employs 863 people.

The inter-union, for its part, accused Tuesday the management of “bad faith” and “lack of transparency” on “the various scenarios envisaged concerning the closure of the site”.

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