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Ferroglobe closes its Savoyard factory, the only one to produce calcium silicide in Europe

Employees on strike at the Ferropem ferroalloy plant, in Château-Feuillet (Savoie), December 9, 2021.

Twelve months of tough negotiations, conducted in a climate “extremely degraded”, will not have been enough to influence the desire of Ferroglobe, a world producer of silicon, to close the ferro-alloys factory managed by its subsidiary Ferropem in Savoie. The employment protection plan (PSE), launched in 2021 by the Hispano-American group at the century-old site of Château-Feuillet, the only one to produce calcium silicide (CaSi) in Europe, has been completed, friday 1er April, without a consensus on an alternative to stopping its activity.

On Wednesday, March 30, a majority agreement providing in particular for sixteen to eighteen months of redeployment leave for the 221 employees of the factory was however concluded between the management of the group and the union representatives.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Ferropem: one of the two threatened sites escapes closure

“We expected nothing from Ferroglobe, which treated us with contempt and spared us nothing”, emphasizes Roger Roelandts, Force Ouvrière (FO) union delegate. “On the other hand, if the government had banged its fist on the table, our jobs would be saved today. This is a serious political mistake.”he believes, describing the heavy psychological impact of the procedure on some workers.

Within the factory, employees deplore that the unions have yielded to “acceptance of dismissals”. “We can indeed ask ourselves the question of the relevance of signing an agreement that condemns everyone”corroborates Walter Wlodarczyk, member of the corporate social committee. “This will facilitate the approval of the PSE, the step that will conclude the dismissal procedure. »

The group was “extremely closed”

Ferroglobe had announced, in March 2021, the mothballing of the two factories managed by its subsidiary in the Alps and the dismissal of their 350 employees to focus its strategy – in a context of erosion of orders – on its four other French sites, judged “more developed, flexible and competitive”.

Eight months later, the group had finally put an end to the PSE committed to the 131 employees of the Clavaux factory, located in Isère, near Grenoble, after the signing of a new commercial contract with a historical customer (the German Wacker) and a financial agreement with the French State.

convinced of “inconsistency” the economic argument put forward by Ferroglobe and the “viability” of the Savoyard site, the unions of Château-Feuillet managed to push back the deadline of the procedure, by claiming the financial statements of the past year proving the profits generated in France by Ferropem.

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