Michelin Tire jobs will boost local economy, Pictou mayor says

The mayors of Pictou and New Glasgow are hopeful dozens of contract and temporary jobs at Michelin Tires in Granton will help out recent graduates and people returning to the region due to layoffs out West.

Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. is creating 70 to 90 temporary and contract jobs

Joe Hawes, the mayor of the Town of Pictou, is hopeful the temporary positions will continue beyond two years. (CBC)

The mayor of the Town of Pictou is hopeful new jobs at the Michelin Tire plant in Granton will allow some young people to put down roots in the area. 

This week Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. announced it will create 70 to 90 temporary and contract jobs at the Granton plant to respond to the growing demand for winter tires. 

The company says the positions will be filled by current employees, retirees and contractors.

Mayor Joe Hawes says he's "elated" about the news and the timing couldn't be better for tradespeople from Pictou County. 

"It just means some of the younger people that are just graduating, they may get a chance to get a job for a couple of years, and people that are coming back from out West that may have worked at Michelin before will get some work," he said. 

New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan says the plant's general manager called him personally Monday to relay the news. He says the company has "been a mainstay of Pictou County for generations."

"Those people from out West where things are slowing down and those people are coming home, it gives them a new sense of hope that maybe they'll be able to find employment," MacMillan said.  

News jobs following cuts

He says even having job security for a few years could lead to more people deciding to settle in the area. Anytime there's young families, it's good for the economy, he says. 

The new jobs will be in addition to the 600 current positions at the plant. 

Michelin cut 500 jobs from its Granton tire plant in 2014 and that included 214 retirees and 16 involuntary severance packages. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

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

Tires will stay in Canada

The company says 70 per cent of the tires produced will be sold in Canada. The cost of shipping tires mean it's expensive to export tires. 

Hawes is hopeful an increase in winter tire production will continue for more than a few years. 

"Why would they just be temporary? I would think they would be looking at how successful it would be and if this is the place to expand their plant again in the future."

MacMillan calls the new positions a good start. 

"We have to work extremely hard during those two years to source other employment," he said.