BRIDGEWATER, N.S. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on March 14 the federal government plans to supply $44.3 million to Michelin’s manufacturing plants in Nova Scotia as they shift toward production of tires for electric vehicles.
Trudeau made the announcement on the factory in Bridgewater, saying that the expansion will secure a whole lot of well-paid, existing jobs and create latest ones at three factories.
The prime minister was joined by Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, who says Michelin’s decision to modernize and expand its operations is a testament to Nova Scotia’s strong business environment.
Houston says that through the province’s newly increased Capital Investment Tax Credit, Michelin stands to receive a credit of about $61.3 million over five years, based on the planned investment of $302.7 million.
Standing before a whole lot of the plant’s employees, Trudeau said Michelin could have chosen other destinations for the investments, and this is an element of the explanation why he and the Nova Scotia government provided public funds to a profitable multinational corporation.
“I feel you recognize that an enormous international company like Michelin, that has plants and fabrication facilities all all over the world, has selections and options,” he said in the course of the announcement.
“(Premier) Tim (Houston) and I stepped up with money to encourage them to return here and show we’re willing to take a position in the longer term of Michelin here in Nova Scotia and Bridgewater.”
Nonetheless, Trudeau told the employees that the standard of their work was ultimately the important thing to Michelin’s decision to expand within the province.
“You’re the competitive advantage that Canada has. The standard of the work that is finished here and in plants prefer it across the country is the one thing that continues to be the strongest selling point as we attract investments from all over the world,” he said.
Michelin currently employs about 3,600 Nova Scotians at its manufacturing plants in Bridgewater, Waterville and Granton, and the expansion is predicted so as to add 70 more jobs.
The planned modernization will allow Michelin to supply more energy-efficient tires, including ones used for electric vehicles, and to chop factory emissions through electrification, company officials said.
Alexis Garcin, the chair of Michelin North America, said in the course of the announcement that the expansion allows his firm to regulate to a market where as much as half of latest passenger vehicles shall be either hybrid or electric by 2030.
“That is why these investments are critical, in order that we are able to seize massive opportunities because the markets transform,” he said.
Trudeau said in the course of the announcement that Canadians want “good union, or good, well-paid middle-class jobs that can support families and the communities they live in.”
Nonetheless, trade unions say that the announcement Tuesday must have been accompanied by government pledges to finish laws in Nova Scotia that has made it difficult to unionize the three Michelin facilities within the province.
“Investments in Nova Scotian businesses have to be paired with advances in employees’ rights with the intention to truly profit the working class,” Jennifer Murray, the Unifor Atlantic regional director, wrote in an email.
“There have been dozens of unionization attempts by Michelin employees, but amendments to the Trade Union Act generally known as `the Michelin Bill’ that retroactively ended a legitimate unionization attempt in 1979 remain on Nova Scotia’s books,” she wrote. She called on the Houston government to repeal the Michelin Bill and “enable employees to more freely take part in collective bargaining.”
In an interview after the news conference, Houston said his government has no plans to alter the laws.
Still, some employees on the plant said they were encouraged by the announcement, saying it means long-term job security and a lift to the town.
Josh Truelove, a 35-year-old worker, said, “It’s great … It’s good for our plant. It is going to keep us in work for the remaining of our lives, together with future generations.”
CORRECTION: A headline on an earlier version of this report overstated the federal government’s contribution. It’s contributing $44.3 million.