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in Aveyron, former SAM employees refuse to leave the factory

Former employees of the SAM (Aveyronnaise Metallurgy Company) demonstrate in front of their factory, in Viviez, on January 22, 2022.

I haven’t done any job search because I don’t want to go anywhere else »warns, determined, Fabienne, who worked thirty-three years at the Société aveyronnaise de metallurgie (SAM), an automobile foundry that entered into service in 1973 in Viviez, in the heart of the coalfield of Decazeville (Aveyron).

After twenty-three months of a soap opera with twists and turns, from receivership in December 2019 to the liquidation pronounced in November 2021, leaving 330 people unemployed, this former employee still believes in it and acts as if nothing had happened. Every day I go to work. I go to the factory »says this woman close to sixty, very attached to the SAM. This is where I met my husband Bernard. Here, we lived everything together, weddings and births of colleagues. »

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “We are all SAM”: in Aveyron, the slim hope of taking over the automotive foundry

Even though the machines stopped working four months ago, the former employees never left their factory. For 133 days, they have been watching continuously, night and day, over the industrial tools. The challenge is clear: in order to find a buyer, the SAM must not be stripped of its equipment to be able to restart quickly. But, in its decision of Tuesday March 29, the Rodez court ordered the evacuation of the premises. However, the court granted them a grace period, which will end on Tuesday, April 5, at 2 p.m. sharp.

Two guarantees

The agents have a mission framed by law: to complete the security of the site and to proceed with the transfer of the assets. To achieve this, the premises must be emptied »justifies Jérôme Carles, the lawyer for the liquidators who summoned, on February 28, the former employees for unlawful occupancy » and imminent danger of maintaining in operation on the site furnaces containing molten aluminum ». However, the occupation prohibited us from insuring the site » argues the board. And the gas and electricity bill to operate the ovens has amounted to almost a million euros over the last three months. »

MH Industries, a manufacturer of metal parts from Lot, is studying a revival of SAM activity, with the support of the Occitanie region

The employees themselves decided not to comply. At the last general meeting, Tuesday March 29, they voted in favor of continuing to occupy the premises, the time to obtain two guarantees: a document signed by the agents who undertake not to sell or cut the industrial tool and the establishment of a security service at the entrance to the factory. Collectively, we say that we must not touch the SAM. Our fight has a meaning, it is fair and legitimate. Renault and the others will not make us look like guilty victims »chokes, angry, David Gistau, CGT member of the social and economic committee (CSE). Guilty of what? To keep our dignity to have a full fridge? To allow our children to study? To allow the emergence of an industrial project ? »

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