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High Energy Prices Claim More Jobs

November 8, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




The green dream claims more jobs.

From Sky:




Michelin is to shut its tyre factory in County Antrim with the loss of 860 jobs – blaming intense competition from Asia and high energy costs.

The reasons for the decision place further pressure on the Government as they largely mirror those given by steelmakers in recent weeks for the loss of thousands of jobs. Trade union Unite accused ministers of inaction.

Michelin said the Ballymena plant would be closed by mid-2018 under its proposals.

Union bosses warned that 500 contractors who work with Michelin will also be affected, together with many other local businesses whose trade relies on the plant.

The announcement was part of a wider shake-up of Michelin’s facilities in the UK, Italy and Germany, where it will also close a factory. The company said the moves would result in investment in its operations in Stoke-on-Trent and Dundee.

However, the news is devastating for Ballymena – coming on the back of the planned closure of another factory in the town.

The JTI Gallaher tobacco plant is due to close by the end of next year with 870 staff facing the axe.

The Michelin factory in Ballymena opened in 1969. Management figures have been warning for a number of years that high-energy costs were making production increasingly unsustainable.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jr said: "This means the loss of millions of pounds of wages annually and is, frankly, hard to come to terms with.

"The North Antrim factory has put up a valiant fight, but today they have bowed their head."

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the closure was a "body blow" to the local economy and pledged to make every effort to alleviate the impact of the job losses.

Michelin said in a statement that it had been hit by "very aggressive competition and manufacturing overcapacity on the truck tyre market, heavy logistics costs due to its location and high production costs principally due to the price of energy".

An employee consultation process will begin immediately regarding the run-down proposal, the firm said.

Unite’s regional co-ordinator Davy Thompson said: "Ministerial inaction has resulted in a situation where high energy costs have left the Ballymena plant having the second lowest operating efficiency and now facing closure."

Manufacturers have been suffering from the effects of the strong pound while the Government has promised help to refund green levies for energy-intensive industry, subject to EU approval, to help bring their costs down amid the steel crisis.

Michelin’s decision was announced as the British Chambers of Commerce warned that UK export growth had slipped back to levels seen during the financial crisis.

Its director-general, John Longworth, called for action to address short-comings on skills, infrastructure and access to finance.


As with all these closures, there are a number of issues adding to a complex situation. However, businesses always operate at the margin, and in cases such as Michelin it may be that unnecessarily energy costs make the difference between closure and staying open.

What is clear is that there is little the UK government can do about the other problems mentioned, such as global oversupply and cheap imports. But they can, and should, do something about high energy costs now.

  1. November 8, 2015 1:59 pm

    A few thousand jobs losses and ruined lives is a small price to pay if you believe you’re saving the planet. However, for those politicians who know the CAGW scare is load of cobblers but say nothing for an easy life or to signal their virtue: shame on them.

  2. November 8, 2015 2:06 pm

    Tata Steel, a victim of green subsidies, have notified their suppliers that if they do not cut their prices by an immediate `10% followed by a further 20% they will be removed from their contracts. This will have a catastrophic effect on small and medium size businesses and lead to further job losses.

  3. November 8, 2015 3:25 pm

    What?! I though green energy was a panacea and jobs would be popping up everywhere. How did this happen?

    • roy andrews permalink
      November 8, 2015 4:03 pm

      The Wimps of Whitehall are trying to atone for the British ‘crimes’ committed to everyone everywhere over the centuries. That their efforts will make not one iota of difference to nasty emissions matters not……far more important to be seen wearing a sackcloth and ashes and to be heard preaching the word. British workers the acceptable canon fodder for their vanity.

  4. B. A. Baracus permalink
    November 8, 2015 4:14 pm

    Another of Baroness Worthington’s victims.

    • roy andrews permalink
      November 8, 2015 5:25 pm

      She, who is so well qualified to pontificate on matters of climate change…… with a degree in English Literature!

  5. A C Osborn permalink
    November 8, 2015 5:41 pm

    What was the ratio that was worked out in the early stages of the great green movement, for every 1 green job created you lose 4 conventional jobs.

  6. Paul2 permalink
    November 8, 2015 7:06 pm

    This story indicates the big problem with the UK leaving the EU – namely that even though the EU is a corrupt organisation, do you really trust those in power in Westminster to make sensible decisions about our future? Sadly, I don’t. In many ways the powers that be over here have a twisted world view and would lead us further into the mire with their barmy environmental policies.

    • Dave Nunn permalink
      November 8, 2015 7:25 pm

      The EU can hardly be seen as a common sense moderation organisation.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      November 8, 2015 8:41 pm

      It the signed up act of parliament and forced adherence to EU policy that is the problem

  7. Paul2 permalink
    November 8, 2015 8:57 pm

    Nope, I was talking about the climate change act which had nothing really to do with any EU regulations. Whenever I hear virtually politician speak about energy and climate change even the “sceptics” know which side their bread is buttered and in general tow the warmist line.
    I can’t see things improving any time soon given this and other parties stance on energy policy.

  8. November 9, 2015 1:50 am

    Scunthorpe should become part of Germany, that way the steelworks would qualify for exemption from Green taxes until 2017.
    If it stays in the UK Cameron is promising 50million in green tax cuts NEXT YEAR as long as the EU approves
    ..too little too late

    REmember all our factories could move to that green place Germany where they are building so many coal powered stations ..partially from parts of closed down UK ones.

  9. November 9, 2015 1:54 am

    2.5 million hits soon Paul, it was only about a year back you passed 1 million !

  10. November 9, 2015 7:57 pm

    The left should be ecstatic. And any one of them who loses his own job should be over the moon.

  11. Gamecock permalink
    November 9, 2015 8:11 pm

    Michelin is expanding in South Carolina.


  12. David Kendrick permalink
    November 10, 2015 8:49 am

    ‘Energy’ costs are hardly to blame, siting the plant away from the coast, without low cost rail/water transportation to supply its raw materials which in the case of Vulcanized rubber is from Indonesia and Eastern Europe is a primary cause, decisions in fact made 40 years ago by people who sited the plant in a bad location with the aid of government handouts at the height of the troubles and by the other more important factor today that the parent company built competing plants in India, Thailand and China which have excess capacity with lower costs.

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