Employees of Ascoval, in Saint-Saulve, still blocked the site last Wednesday. – SIPA

This Wednesday morning, the commercial chamber of the High Court of Strasbourg returned to December 12 its decision on the future of the steel mill Ascoval located in Saint-Saulve, in the North.

This new deadline, after a suspension of two weeks granted at the end of October, must validate the offer of takeover of the French-Belgian Altifort and find an agreement with Vallourec, shareholder and sole current customer of the steel mill, said representatives staff and Altifort after a very short in camera hearing.

"If we can not do it in five weeks, we will not be able to do it at all"

"All parties are well aware that there is one last card to play and that it takes time to go to the end," reacted Bruno Kopczynski, CFDT union representative and spokesman for the inter, saying that December 12 would be "the final hearing".

"The five weeks is fine. This allows everyone to maintain pressure to speed things up […]. If we do not get there in five weeks, we will not get there at all, "he added.

"I am confident that this is a sufficient time to complete the file provided that everyone works in the same direction," said in the courtroom of the court, the boss of Altifort Bart Gruyaert.

Ascoval must now find new customers to compensate for Vallourec's departure. "Many customers have come forward with great interest and I see that today we have more interests than capacity," said Bart Gruyaert.

After a week of blocking, the 281 employees returned to work Monday at the steel mill in Saint-Saulve, specialized in special steels and created in 1975 by Vallourec.


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