The French manufacturer of seamless tubes Vallourec announced on Wednesday its intention to cut some 2,950 jobs worldwide, including 320 in France, confronting the State with its first social plan after Elisabeth Borne took office at Matignon.
The group announced in a press release a reduction of “approximately 2,400 positions” following in particular the closure of its German sites, as well as the elimination of “approximately 550 positions” in support functions.
In mid-November, at the end of a long process of financial restructuring, Vallourec announced the sale of its German activities and the cessation of manufacturing in Europe of tubes for industry. It planned to transfer part of its activities to Brazil.
“A continuous policy of abandonment not acceptable”
According to the company, it was because no “credible buyer has been identified” for the German activities that their closure was announced. This “results in further rationalization of other European assets in charge of finishing rolled tubes in Germany”, added Vallourec. And in particular the closure of the “heat treatment line” of the French factory in Saint-Saulve (North).
“We ask Vallourec that the consequences of the plan on French activities be minimized and we demand that the forging, threading, research and development center in Aulnoye-Aymeries (Nord) be maintained and strengthened” reacted Bercy on Wednesday evening after the ‘announcement. Since the last restructuring of the group in 2021, the State still controls 2.3% of the capital of Vallourec via the Public Investment Bank (BPI).
For the LR president of the Ile-de-France region Xavier Bertrand, “the group’s continued policy of abandoning its industrial activities in France is not acceptable” he wrote on Twitter. He said he had obtained from the CEO “an emergency meeting” on Friday with representatives of employees, local elected officials and management.
I spoke by telephone with P. Guillemot, CEO of@Vallourec. I told him that the group’s continued policy of abandoning its industrial activities in France is not acceptable. The State must explain its position as a major shareholder via@Bpifrance. pic.twitter.com/v8aDgAoQGO
– Xavier Bertrand (@xavierbertrand) May 18, 2022
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First departures end of 2022
Of the 550 jobs cut in the rest of the world, 70 are in Scotland, affected by the stoppage of the filleting activity, the volumes of which would be repatriated to Aulnoye-Aymeries and “320 in France, including 65 at the headquarters” in Meudon ( Hauts-de-Seine), detailed CEO Philippe Guillemot, during a conference call.
Some 250 jobs will be cut in the north of France: just under a hundred on the Saint-Saulve site, a hundred in Aulnoye-Aymeries and the balance on the shared services center in Valenciennes, said Mr. Guillemot , appointed less than two months ago to complete the restructuring of the group and make it more profitable.
The first departures could take place from the end of 2022, and be spread “over the whole of 2023, in particular in Germany”. This country will continue to produce as long as the volumes made in Germany are not transferred to Brazil, according to Mr. Guillemot.