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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: https://www.humanite.fr/fabien-rous...

by Benjamin König

Fabien Roussel Goes into Action for Jobs at Choisy-Le-Roi

Translated Tuesday 26 May 2020, by Stephen Chalk

On Monday, the National Secretary of the French Communist Party (PCF) went to the Renault factory, whose activity is threatened by the management. The latter refused him access to the site.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020
Benjamin König

The announcement of the planned closure of four sites, including the factory at Choisy-le-Roi, a town in the Val-de-Marne on the banks of the Seine, has been met with astonishment. And incomprehension, since this factory is a model of circular economy: the 263 employees, not counting temporary workers, recondition car parts, including engines. On this sunny Monday morning, the national secretary of the PCF, Fabien Roussel, came to meet the employees and visit the site, accompanied by the communist mayor of the town, Didier Guillaume. Alas! The Renault management refused to allow the deputy and the mayor to enter the site. Behaviour which symbolizes the group’s disregard for public debate... Undeterred, in front of the gates, Fabien Roussel meets “informally with a few employees who, for the moment, do not want to express themselves publicly”. For they too remain stunned and do not understand. They prefer to await the announcements by the Head of State, who is due to speak on Tuesday, and above all of Renault’s management, set for Friday 29 May.

For Didier Guillaume, the town’s mayor, this closure would be nothing less than “sacrilege”…
Away from the journalists, the national secretary of the PCF spoke with several trade union representatives - notably from FO [Force Ouvrière], which has the largest number of members on the site. “I have come to listen to them, and to understand what could make Renault close this factory.”  For the town’s mayor, this closure would be nothing less than “sacrilege”. Didier Guillaume is worried, because it “would have an impact on numerous families, on business and on subcontractors”. Since Le Canard enchaîné newspaper revealed the Renault group’s disastrous plans, there have been mixed feelings in Choisy-le-Roi: “shock, astonishment, anxiety and incomprehension, because this is a profitable and virtuous factory”. Many of the town’s young people work there, sometimes after specialized training in institutions in the surrounding area or at the local unit of the French national employment agency (Pôle Emploi). “This is a flagship of industry continues Fabien Roussel. It is ecological, since they recycle engines. Why should the employees go to work in Flins (the Flins factory could host the Choisy site’s activity – Editor’s note), 70 kilometres away from here?"

In the background, the State’s industrial strategy is at issue, since the latter is a 15.01% shareholder. For national subsidies are not conditional upon the maintenance of jobs... “The Renault group wants to maintain profitability for shareholders. We want jobs and investment. These are two opposing logics” Fabien Roussel sums up. He stresses the role of the State: “I expect the government to clearly set out a strategy for the motor industry. We need to maintain these industrial sites in our country, to bring the production of Dacia back to France from Romania, and the Clio, now manufactured in Turkey.” Renault currently makes 17% of its vehicles in France, and the PCF national secretary considers that “an ambitious target would already be to double this figure”. All the more so as the coronavirus crisis has shown the need to bring production, and particularly industrial production, back to France. Didier Guillaume appeals to Emmanuel Macron: “The motor industry has a future, it must create jobs for our young people!

Benjamin König

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