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Peugeot factory in Aulnay: “We’ve come back to work because we have no choice. But our heart isn’t in it.”

Translated Friday 21 September 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The 3400 workers at the PSA factory in Aulnay, which is to be shuttered, went back to work on Sept. 4 after a month of holidays and a week on short-time. The ambiance is morose. The employees say they are determined to fight, but are “without illusions” as to their future.

“Honestly, we have no illusions about the shuttering of the factory. Above all, the question is what is to become of us afterwards. Not so much for me, because I’m near retirement age. But above all for the colleagues aged 40 to 50. It’s going to be hard for them to find another job,” was the comment to Agence France Presse from an Aulnay employee, who has worked at the factory for the past 27 years. “We’ve come back to work because we have no choice. But our heart isn’t in it."

The first workers arrived on Sept. 4 at 6 a.m. at the immense parking lot outside the factory, which employs over 3,000 workers. On their way through the gates to clock in with their badges, many made no secret of their worries on this back-to-work day.

According to management, “work resumed as normally as possible. The workshops are working normally.” But for the CGT trade union, the workers have unanimously decided to organize a general assembly on September 11. “We’re going to have to accelerate the mobilization to gain power and influence – the workers are not resigned.”

The shuttering of the Aulnay factory is at the heart of a vaster management plan aimed at shedding 8,000 jobs. On Sept. 3 CGT delegates from all the factories came together in Montreuil to prepare the riposte. The first big event of the mobilization will be the demonstration on October 9.

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