PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa – Bridgestone will permanently close the gates to its tyre plant in the Friendly City on November 15 2020 after a 60-day consultation with its employees and their unions.
The company announced the closure in August 2020. The decision will terminate the employment of 252 people but BSAF says it is committed to keeping its Brits plant operational.
Jacques Fourie, BSAF chief executive, told The Corner in a media release: “The decision was not taken lightly. The impact on employees was taken into account from the outset and we endeavored to treat employees with the utmost compassion and fairness and to support them through the change, while adhering to all legal requirements and due diligence.”
RADIALS ‘NOT POSSIBLE’
BSAF says it has in recent years seen its financial performance come under pressure, hard-hit by a variety of economic conditions and industry factors. “Chief was off-road tyres being phased out in the market – a growing global trend towards radial tyres.
“The plant was simply unable to produce the radial tyres,” Fourie explained. “Upgrading the factory to produce radials would have needed a completely new, multi-billion rand, plant, something not feasible or justifiable.”
Concerted efforts to keep the plant going were unsuccessful after exhausting all alternatives.