© Reuters. Japan's Bridgestone closes Bethune tire factory due to low demand
PARIS (Reuters) – France should invest in a tire plant in Bridgestone (T 🙂 that is threatened with closure, said the head of its regional government, who plans to take on President Emmanuel Macron in 2022, on Sunday before a ministerial visit on site.
The appeal by Xavier Bertrand, a former minister who now heads the Hauts-de-France region, is putting pressure on the government to prevent the facility from closing completely as the coronavirus pandemic battles trust.
The Japanese tire manufacturer's announcement on Wednesday that it would close its Bethune plant, which employs 863 people in Bertrand's northern region, was quickly condemned by the government.
Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne is expected to visit the factory on Monday.
Bertrand, a Conservative who served as Health Minister in Nicolas Sarkozy's government from 2005 to 2007, told Radio Europe 1 that "everything must be done" to avoid a shutdown. He cited a 2013 precedent where Italy invested in a Bridgestone plant to avert the closure and save 60% of its jobs.
Bertrand intensified his criticism of Macron in a separate interview with Le Parisien and declared that he was "more determined than ever" to challenge France's centrist incumbent in the next presidential election.
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