Sunday, October 2, 2016

Manuel Valls promises to “save” the Belfort site – The Point

During the Grand Jury RTL-LCI-Le Figaro, this Sunday, October 2, Manuel Valls announced that a meeting would be held to Blefort between the unions, the management of Alstom and the government. The purpose of this meeting is to “save” the plant, which is threatened by the decline in orders hex to which the group is exposed.

“on Tuesday, we will save Alstom’s site in Belfort”, has promised the Prime minister, in announcing “a number of tracks concrete” to maintain the rail activity on the site, nearly a month after the announcement of the transfer in Alsace for the production of locomotives. He referred in particular to “the role of the public order”, investments of Alstom, the projects of the “TGV of the future”, and the “bus of the future”.

Manuel Valls more optimistic than the CFDT and his secretary of State

“We remain cautious,” responded Olivier Kohler, delegate CFDT, who says he is “very skeptical” about “these buses of the future”. “Alstom can engage in something other than the motor rail, but it also requires a commitment on the part of management”.

on Friday, the secretary of State for Industry, Christophe Sirugue, who must participate in this “meeting” working alongside local elected representatives, the boss of Alstom Henri Poupart-Lafarge and unions, was shown to be more measured, Manuel Valls. “I’m not going to go with Belfort, saying : ‘Here’s a solution,” he warned. He had, however, indicated that”there will(it) necessarily elements of a response” to the situation of the site, franc-comtois, of which 400 of the 480 jobs are threatened.

on his side, if the mayor LR Belfort Damien Meslot looks forward to the coming Tuesday of Christophe Sirugue, it says wait more than a simple meeting : “We expect to have announcements of orders from the public sector and a diversification of the site”, he explained Saturday, 1 October. “We’re ready to mobilize and invest with Alstom and the government via Tandem, the economy company mixes heritage, which administers the assistance to the enterprises in the Territory of Belfort”, he assured.

The authorities mobilized to save the site of Belfort

In anticipation of potential announcements, Alstom has cancelled the board meeting of its european group committee scheduled for Tuesday, at the request of the unions, tormented by two other central committees of the company have made no progress. Accused of “blackmail” to the employment, the CEO, Henri Poupart-Lafarge pointed out last week, during a hearing in front of mps, that he did not see, until recently, “no structural” for the site of Belfort, in a context of reduced activity of the rail freight and of the “historically low level” of the controls of the TGV in france.

many successful export of Asltom are of no help for the factory belfortaine : in the United States (28 TGV), India (800 engines) and South Africa (580 trains), local manufacturing was a condition-key to win the markets. Only twenty locomotives and motor’s high-speed will this year plant the franche-comte region, compared to 140 in 2008.

behind the scenes, the government will activate all the levers at its disposal. After its passage in front of the deputies, Henri Poupart-Lafarge has been received at the Elysée palace in the company of Martin Bouygues. The boss of the group BTP has 20 % of the capital of Alstom, which he has lent the rights to vote in the State until October 2017, in the hope to sell him their shares at a good price. Other pressures are exerted on the SNCF, when asked to order the six-speed TGV to the Paris-Turin-Milan, to ensure a few months of work at the factory of Belfort.

The management of Alstom announced on 7th September its intention to transfer by 2018 the production of locomotives in Belfort, the group’s historic site which saw the birth of the first high-speed train to Reichshoffen. In this scenario, only the activities of maintenance would be maintained in Belfort. This announcement has sparked a pandemonium policy at the national level and a strong local mobilization, in this city of 50 000 inhabitants, where Alstom has been installed since 1879. So that the record of Alstom Belfort threatens to become, like that of ArcelorMittal in Florange, an emblem of the impotence of the State in the face of deindustrialization, François Hollande has set as its objective” the maintenance of the production of locomotives in Belfort and asked the government to “mobilise to ensure that there are no more commands”.


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