Michelin Tires says dozens of temporary jobs will be created at its hard hit plant in Pictou County to help with the growing demand for winter tires.

Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. says it will create 70 to 90 temporary and contract jobs at the Granton plant. In a statement, the company said the positions will be filled by current employees, retirees and contractors.

Two years ago, the company announced the end of 500 jobs at its Granton plant, in part because it was too expensive to upgrade the facility to make larger tires. The downsizing was completed on July 1.

The breakdown of the cuts included: 

  • 214 retirees
  • 95 relocations to other Michelin facilities
  • 72 voluntary severance packages for those who found new jobs, went back to school, etc.
  • 16 involuntary severance packages

During the restructuring process, spokesperson Deborah Carty says some employees shifted into other departments at the plant. 

"They may have transferred over to our rubber mixing side of the business, and they may wish to come back into tire building." 

Carty says those who opt to move back into their specialty for the temporary program will be backfilled. 

She also expects a number of retirees to return to the business. She says many who left during the cuts were in their 50s, and are eager to come back to work for a few more years. 

Demand rises

For competitive reasons, Carty won't say how many tires they'll be producing. She says it's too soon for Michelin to make decisions beyond this program. 

"Right now we see a forecast demand for these winter tire products which is mainly the X-ICE Xi2 for the next two years. So right now we'll continue to monitor the opportunities in the marketplace and we'll respond accordingly. But at this time it's a two-year, temporary project."

The Granton plant already builds the X-ICE tires, so this project will see the line expand with no investment to the current infrastructure. 

"This is good news for our side and our community," Jeff MacLean, the president of Michelin North America (Canada) said in the statement.

"Our Michelin Pictou County team welcomes the opportunity to build more tires for our customers in Canada, the U.S. and overseas."

Before these jobs were announced, the company employed 600 employees at the Granton plant. 

To help cushion the blow of the previous job cuts, Michelin started offering a small-business loan fund that has so far created 74 jobs.