Michelin Workers Strike Against Noyelles-les-Seclin Plant Closure
Michelin’s Noyelles-les-Seclin factory in northern France was reportedly brought to a standstill on June 29 by striking workers protesting against plans to close the site next year. This news was published by the AFP press service based upon information provided by Force Ouvrière union delegate Gilles Cocquerez; according to Cocquerez, ninety per cent of staff at the plant near Lille went out on strike, and between 150 and 200 people staged a march through the town centre. A spokeswoman for Michelin confirmed that the factory’s production had indeed come to a halt.
The strikes follow the announcement of Michelin’s plans to eliminate up to 3,500 French jobs by 2011. The Noyelles-les-Seclin plant, which employs 276 people, is to be closed down entirely. Workers unions have labelled initial proposals made to affected employees – an offer of offered 20,000 euros to relocate to Michelin’s Clermont Ferrand plant or 22,000 euros to leave – as “disgraceful.” Cocquerez said the Force Ouvrière union was demanding 50,000 euros for relocation costs, and 100,000 euros for those who leave the group.
A meeting between Michelin management and unions got underway on June 29, however according to AFP a leader of the CGT union said the unions were demanding more economic data before agreeing to start negotiating on the layoff plans across the group.