Government pledge as 950 jobs go

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The Independent Online

The Government has promised rapid and effective help for 950 people being laid off by tyre maker Michelin.

The Government has promised rapid and effective help for 950 people being laid off by tyre maker Michelin.

Today's shock decision by the French firm was described as a "devastating blow" by the Transport and General Workers Union.

Michelin will slash jobs at one of its four British factories as it seeks to centralize output and cut production costs.

It will make the cuts by the end of next year at its plant at Stoke-on-Trent, where the workforce is currently 2,350.

Ministers from two government departments promised help.

Industry Minister Alan Johnson said he "deeply regretted" the announcement, adding: "The businesses, communities and people in the area affected can be assured that the government will play its full part in helping them.

"Our key aim will be to find new job opportunities for the future to replace those lost today."

Employment minister Tessa Jowell said the Employment Service would work with local authorities and chambers of commerce to provide advice and help to those losing their jobs."

Michelin site manager Jim Rickard said: "It is a sad day for Michelin and for Stoke-on-Trent because it signals the end of what will be nearly 74 years of Michelin tire making in Stoke."

The decision came as Michelin struggles with rising costs in Europe. Last month the company blamed a weak euro, rising commodity prices and slower inventory growth for a decline of almost 28 percent in half-year profits.

The company said its decision was part of a strategy of concentrating production at fewer and bigger plants.

Michelin plants at Dundee, Burnley and Ballymena in Northern Ireland will no be affected.

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