Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Alstom: decisive day to Belfort to save the plant – The Point

The employees of Alstom in Belfort, are hoping to be fixed on their fate on Tuesday, after a meeting that will bring together local elected officials, the unions, the management of the group, and a government that is ready to use all levers in order to save their locomotive factory of a near-closing.

The government empties finally in the mouth of the lion. Three weeks after his first meeting with the trade unions, the secretary of State for Industry, Christophe Sirugue, moves to Belfort to present the plan to the executive in the difficult issue Alstom.

“If the SNCF should be involved through the order for six trains TGV, the State should buy for the first time high-speed trains on its own account, which will be operated on the lines of City,” says the economic daily Les Echos in its Tuesday edition.

Since the announcement, on 7 September, the project of the direction of transfer by 2018 the engineering and the production of his site from Belfort towards the Reichshoffen (Bas-Rhin), the future of this factory, built in 1879, has become a priority for the government.

François Hollande himself has made the maintenance of the activity and 400 jobs threatened a “goal” and promised that “everything will be done” to achieve it.

“Tuesday, we will save the site,” said this weekend the Prime minister, Manuel Valls.

“I’m not going to go to Belfort saying +That+ solution,” warned more cautiously M. Sirugue, who will bring in his suitcase “response elements”. The secretary of State will first meet with local elected officials at 9: 00 am to “see what role communities can take in the proposals that may be made”.

The deputy-mayor (LR) Damien Meslot has already said “ready to (be) to mobilize and invest” through the mixed-economy company, Tandem, a vehicle of assistance to the enterprises of the Territory of Belfort.

This could result in an expenditure of 800,000 to a million euros for the electrification of a route of testing” rail, he explained to AFP.

A “working meeting” will now start at 10: 00 in the prefecture, with M. Sirugue, local elected officials, the unions and the CEO of Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge.

“We’ll see if the government’s commitment is shared by management,” said to the AFP Olivier Kohler, elected CFDT, who hopes “that the proposed closure of the site (will be) completely called into question”.

- Manif, orders, and plan B -

A third event in less than a month, will start at 9: 15 am plant Alstom in the direction of the prefecture, to “show that the employees are there, and that it is not necessary to do anything with them,” said Daniel Dreger, of the CGT.

In the meantime the official announcement expected around noon, so many tracks advanced in recent weeks to leave the trade unions sceptical.

The most obvious is to trigger new orders of TGV. The government has not hidden put pressure on Alstom and the SNCF, to conclude as soon as possible the purchase of six trains for the Paris-Turin-Milan, for an estimated amount of 200 million euros.

And an additional order of 16 trains by the State, therefore, is also considered, for almost 500 million, according to The World.

“it’s an opportunity to pass the hollow load, but it does not solve the problem. We don’t want to live in the square brackets of the State,” says Andre Fages, of the CFE-CGC.

Mr. Poupart-Lafarge for its part, had indicated on Tuesday in front of the mps do not wish to ‘force orders for trains which would rust away in cupboards”.

The government is also a diversification of the site, for example, in the production of the “bus of the future”, referred to by Mr. Valls.

“It would be more of a plan B,” said Mr. Fages, who would prefer that Alstom recovers the entirety of the maintenance trains of the SNCF and the RATP.

“The +bus of the future+, it is odd,” observes Mr. Dreger, convinced that its management “does not want to put the means to develop” the project. The elected CGT points out that Belfort “the employees are qualified for the manufacture of locomotives.”

04/10/2016 08:01:14 – Belfort (AFP) – © 2016 AFP


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