The factory Seita of Riom, the last cigarette factory in mainland France, will close next year, as well as a research centre situated in the Loiret, triggering the concerns of employees of the French subsidiary of british Imperial Tobacco. Seita, number two in the tobacco market in France, “announced to its Central works council (CEC) meeting on Tuesday that it was considering the divestment of the sites of Riom and of Fleury-les-Aubrais” and this from the “second half of 2017,” according to a press release sent to AFP.
The factory of Riom, in the Puy-de-Dome, has about 239 positions, and the research centre of Fleury-les-Aubrais in the Loiret 87. After the closure of the factory of Carquefou (Loire-Atlantique) in 2014, Riom was the last cigarette factory in operation in mainland France. Seita manufactures packets of cigarettes brands Gauloises, News, JPS and Royal.
“It’s been two days that we suspected as much, but they come to tell us. The people are a little shell-shocked,” testified to AFP Ludovic Gotiaux, union representative and staff representative CGT in the site of Riom. “We expected it but not as brutal. I worked in Riom for the month of July after having experienced a mutation brutal after the closure of Nantes. 50 years ago I had no choice. There, it is a new blow. My family is in shock, my children are very worried,” responded Michel Nicole, an employee of the site Riom.
Seita retains a small cigarette factory in Corsica, the Macotab (Manufacture corse de tabacs) located in Furiani (Corsica), which produces only for the local market. The subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco announced that it was looking for buyers for its sites. It “engages in a phase of intensive search of buyers for these sites in advancing solutions to the retraining that would ensure the viability of the sites and to provide employment opportunities”. A “reorganization of the support functions is also envisaged within the headquarters”, according to the press release, without giving more details. The office of the secretary of State for Industry, Christophe Sirugue was assured by the AFP to “follow the case”.
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