“… Hand, do a Beautiful and Strong”. This is what we could read on one of the banners brandished by the employees of the factory, Alstom, Belfort, gathered on the morning of Tuesday 27 September at the group headquarters in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Auditionné on the same day by the economic Affairs commission of the national Assembly, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, president and CEO of the railway builder, has not, however, make any warranties on the maintenance of the site today threatened.
On the rest, the implementation of the group (31.000 employees worldwide, including 9,000 in France), the “excellence” of the enterprise, its business in Europe (60% of the turnover of 6.9 billion euros), Henri Poupart-Lafarge, in contrast, is shown to be inexhaustible.
As to provide concrete answers, the CEO of Alstom held a discretion to violet, waiting for the government to do, in the beginning of next week, the ads that it deems useful, first, to the principal concerned : employees and their representatives. “It is necessary to work on the globality of the problem”, declared Henri Poupart-Lafarge.
This “problem” stems from the announcement of the transfer of 400 of the 480 workers of the factory belfortaine on the Reichshoffen (Bas-Rhin), a decision that signals the programmed death of the railway business of this historic site, which manufactured the first steam locomotive in 1879, and the first high-speed train.
A hundred employees of Alstom gathered Tuesday 27 September at the group headquarters in Saint-Ouen, to claim the maintenance of the factory in Belfort.
Before the mps, the CEO has also worked to refute the accusations of “cynicism”, “machiavélisme” and “blackmail” spread by some commentators after the “thump” felt in Belfort and beyond. Saying understand the “stupor” and the “brutality” of the announcement of this quasi-closure, Henri Poupart-Lafarge added :
“We can’t say that this is a lightning in a blue sky. In 2013, right here (in front of the deputies, ED), I stated that if we didn’t order, we would have serious problems.”
“Belfort has a load of work for the next twelve less”, he assured, before adding that there was “no prospect” for the next 18 to 24 months. It is this “hollow charge” which led him to begin on September 7, a “dialogue” to transfer this activity.
“The sabotage of industrial”
Damien Meslot, mp-mayor (Republican) of Belfort, was immediately contradicted, saying that the same 7 September, the director of the factory of Belfort had called him to say : “the site closes”. And the elected of the launch : “This is a funny way to talk about trading !”
Among the deputies of the pressing issues, Pierre Lellouche (The Republicans) didn’t go of dead hand. Unlike Siemens and Mitsubishi, has developed the ex-minister, Alstom is alone, “without cooperation” to other branches of activity to gradually have sold the ones he had in the use of electricity in shipyards, power. And the member of parliament for Paris to consider :
“Why did you leave dismember the company knowing that the transportation branch could not survive ? It is, frankly, disgusting. This story is the sabotage of the French industry.”
Henri Poupart-Lafarge was not disassembled. If Alstom is experiencing difficulties, it is because the group had to face a drop of 30% of its activity on all sites to hexagon. The rail freight is in crisis and the high speed train is undergoing a difficult period,” he said. However, these are precisely the specialties of the factory in Belfort.
He suggested, in passing, that the responsibilities of this position were not solely his responsibility. “In 2015, pointed out Henri Poupart-Lafarge, the cargo has increased by 40% while it declined from 20% in France.” As he did Monday in front of representatives of the central committee of the company, it has, moreover, asserted that he “expected nothing from the government”. “We are working together,” he blurted before adding :
“I don’t know what will be the measures announced by the government in the coming days. We are not in the process of negotiating with the State. The State is moved by the fate of Belfort. He wished to study with us solutions in a sustainable way. It has not caused the pain at the employees and then lead them in a boat.”
on Tuesday morning, in front of the group headquarters, Saint-Ouen, several elected officials from the region of Belfort as well as the spokesman of the NPA Olivier Besancenot attended the hundred employees of Alstom in the strike. This also, the secretary general of the CGT Philippe Martinez for his part said : “no One expects the government and management to a single sentence : ‘We will not close the site of Belfort’”.