“We want to be actors of our future”, could one read on a banner plastered on the cement factory LafargeHolcim Friday, in Contes near Nice. A dozen employees, out of 65, “who were on RTT, on leave or in recovery”, specifies Angela Ronca, herself employed for 21 years on the site, mobilized, “without preventing the proper functioning”, to ” receive full information about their future ”.
On February 3, the private group announced the closure on December 31 of this factory in the Paillon valley as part of “a low-carbon transition strategy,” said Loïc Leuliette, communications director of LarfargeHolcim. “The Contes cement plant is old and would require colossal investments to maintain production that meets environmental requirements”. A social and economic plan (PSE) was then put in place. The communications director says: “It is closed. Only about ten employees have not yet chosen the option that suits them best. “
Only then, on May 20, two days after the closure of this PSE, a local and family business, present for twenty-five years in the sector, Audemard, made a quantified offer to take over the cement plant with “all of the activities and employees, under the same current salary conditions, ”says Daniel Audemard, associate director. A request which has been studied, assures the LafargeHolcim group, but which is only considered as “a mark of interest”.
“We are not resellers”
Loïc Leuliette explains: “We know this group well, which is both a customer and supplier of Lafarge. But we asked for additional information on their industrial strategy, which must respond to low carbon, and on their long-term financial capacities. We haven’t had any answers. “
An assertion that the Nice company denies. Daniel Audemard exclaims: “We made a very solid cost offer, with a business plan, studies, a decarbonisation plan and specifying that we were available to meet both employees and managers. “
A game of ping-pong, which ends with a very clear smash from the large group: “We are not resellers. “Indeed, in the announcements, LafargeHolcim has specified that it wants to keep the site for the deposit of cement waste and to use it as a distribution platform for their local customers, with production which will then be carried out at the Marseille site.
“They are legally right”
In this configuration, LafargeHolcim is then “legally right”, admits Daniel Audemard. “But I won’t let go,” he continues. I will go as far as possible to avoid a massacre in the local and human economy. After our studies, we saw that it is possible to operate the site for even more than twenty years, so it is possible not to shut down a profitable factory and not to fire anyone. We could develop two other activities, a circular economy and the recycling of materials. We are in the midst of what we need to do: produce locally for the environment. “
The co-manager confirms that he is causing a meeting with the Ministry of Industry to “save the company and the people”. On Monday, it will be with the Economic Social Committee (CSE) that LafargeHolcim will discuss to provide the information long awaited by the staff.