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Ascoval employees block Vallourec site in Aulnoye-Aymeries

Friday morning, October 26, thirty employees of Ascoval of Saint-Saulve blocked the entrance to the Vallourec site of Aulnoye-Aymeries. One way to put pressure on the government that meets during the day in Bercy to decide the fate of this steel mill in the north of France.

Employees of Ascoval of Saint-Saulve (North), in receivership, blocked on Friday, October 26 in the morning all entries of the site of Vallourec, shareholder of the steelworks, in Aulnoye-Aymeries, near Maubeuge. to put pressure on the government that brings together in the day in Bercy the actors of the file.

The action carried out by some thirty employees was proceeding smoothly, AFP reporters noted, with tire fires lit in front of the entrances to the site. A hundred employees of Aulnoye-Aymeries, who had to take up their job at 6 am, waited quietly in front of the main entrance.

"It's a complete blocking of the site, nobody comes back. The idea is to put pressure on Vallourec while there is a meeting today in Bercy "on the future of the steel mill, told AFP Nicolas Lethellier, delegate CGT Saint-Laurent Saulve.

Imbroglio around the Ascoval steelworks

A two-week reprieve for the Saint-Saulve steel mill

So far, "we have been professional, worthy" but "donating, Vallourec, we will suffocate", had warned on Tuesday Bruno Kopczynski, spokesman of the inter-union Ascoval.

"We are rather in solidarity with what happens to them. There are fears all around us, there are restructuring, as we are reminded of globalization every day, "said AFP Dany, who has worked at the Aulnoye pipe mill for 14 years. According to him, Ascoval is the main supplier of tubes and bars of Aulnoye, where there is also a research center.

The Saint-Saulve steelworks, which has 281 employees, is in danger of disappearing since the judicial liquidation in February of its largest shareholder, Ascq Industries. Justice granted him Wednesday a two-week reprieve.

A new reprieve for the Ascoval steelworks

Work meeting in Bercy

The Altifort group, based in the Somme, has made a "firm offer" of recovery, pledging to maintain all jobs and create 133 new ones, but he asks the French steelmaker Vallourec, main customer and first shareholder, to maintain for one and a half years its current level of orders.

However, Vallourec, a specialist in seamless steel tubes, of which the State is a 17% shareholder, refused at the beginning of the week this request, which it deems "contrary to the preservation (of its) interests", causing anger unions and local elected officials, including the president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand, strongly mobilized on this issue.

The Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who went to the north on Tuesday, brings together all the actors of the file Friday in Bercy to study "point by point this file of recovery" and "see if Altifort can go to the end of the project".

"In my opinion, we will be next"

But the government, before making any decision on a possible public support, announced Thursday evening that it asked for an independent opinion on the economic situation of Ascoval. The firm Roland Berger must "rebalayer" the whole file.

An initiative considered too late by the unions "a few days after the death of a site", in the words of Bruno Kopczynski, for whom "the government reacts in panic".

In front of the site of Vallourec, Friday morning, Cédric Henry, FO delegate of the tube mill of Aulnoye-Aymeries (220 employees), said himself "solidarity" with his comrades Ascoval. "In my opinion, we will be next. My feeling is that Vallourec no longer wants a factory in France, "he laments.

"I understand them but, at the same time, I worry about my working day", testified for his part Alain Collart, interim at Vallourec Oil and Gas, for which it was supposed to be the second day of work to make sleeves to assemble the tubes. "We may be working, but for the moment we are waiting …"



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