Why is the Constellium group putting its foundry in Ussel (Corrèze) up for sale?

“We were all surprised. We didn’t expect that. This is how Christophe Coudert, union representative of the CGT in Constellium, summarizes the state of mind of the employees who learned, on Thursday morning, during a socio-economic committee (CSE), of the group’s desire to put up for sale the ussello site that employs 270 people and produces parts for aeronautics.
“It was a monthly CSE and the director explained to us that the Constellium group was going to put the Ussel foundry up for sale, summed up the trade unionist. He also told us that, at the moment, there were no potential buyers but that there would be visits next week. The process begins! We were a little scared by the energy crisis that affects all the foundries, but we were not thinking about a sale of the site at all…”

“No synergies with the rest of the group’s activities”

In a press release, the Constellium group is more evasive, while confirming the information. “Constellium has informed staff representatives at the Ussel site of its intention to study the possible sale of this specialist precision casting plant. “Why such a decision? It fits, says Constellium, “with the group’s strategy to refocus more particularly on its rolling and spinning activities. However, the Ussel site is a foundry and “the latter is not part of the plans.” futures of the group”, analyzes Christophe Coudert. The group’s press release goes in the same direction: “The Ussel site has world-class skills in precision casting for the aeronautical and space, defense and industrial markets. Ussel does not benefit from significant synergies with the other activities of the group”, before adding: “Therefore, Constellium is currently carrying out a deep reflection on the feasibility of a possible sale to a buyer whose financial solidity and the seriousness of the industrial plan would ensure the future development of this activity. »

“We won so little that we have nothing to lose”, explains a Constellium striker, in Ussel (Corrèze)

However, the order book is full, according to the CGT

On the employee side, this announcement has the effect of a cold shower. “The order book is full, we don’t understand it, but a change of owner necessarily has consequences for the employees,” estimates the CGT.
For its part, the group’s management indicates that “it will immediately inform and consult the staff representatives and inform all interested parties if the discussions materialize. During this period, the plant will continue to serve its customers with the same level of quality and commitment. »

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The concern of the employees and the City Council

This sale of the Ussel site is also of concern to the Ussel City Council. “The city of Ussel lives to the rhythm of the swings of life in this foundry that the Ussellois still call Montupet. A few years ago, it employed 800 people, recalls Mayor Christophe Arfeuillère, vice president in charge of economic development for the Haute Corrèze Community (HCC). Now, there are less than 300 employees with recognized know-how and remarkable quality of work. When we talk about selling a site, we are necessarily concerned. “For the mayor, the site, which is aging, needs a strong investment.
“In 2020, Joël Giraud, then Secretary of State for Rurality, had announced, during a visit to the factory, state aid to invest in the site.. In the end they did not reach Ussel but were paid to sites that make more profitable productions. In Ussel, the gas-fired ovens are on 24 hours a day except for two weeks a year… Constellium is facing a problem of profitability and attractiveness for employees…”, specifies the elected official who indicates that he is closely following this sale. .

Estela Bardelot

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