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Bridgestone/Firestone asks for wage reduction in Mexico

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Negotiations between Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. (BFS) and the Mexican labor union may be at an impasse. The result could be the closing of two tire manufacturing facilities in Mexico.

According to BFS, negotiations with workers at its Quernavaca and Mexico City plants in Mexico have been going on "for some time." From the company's point of view, the principal issue is a wage concession.

"In order to be profitable, we have to watch the bottom line," says a BFS spokesperson.

Both Michelin North America Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. have closed their Mexican tire manufacturing facilities within the last year because they were not cost-effective.

Wage reductions appear to be a sticking point with Mexican labor. El Economista reported that union representatives are leaning toward closing the plants and asking for severance packages.

Cuernavaca is the larger of the two plants, with a tire-making capacity of 11,100 passenger and light truck tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer's 2001 Facts Issue. The Mexico City plant has a capacity of 2,300 light and medium truck tires per day.

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