Vallourec, a French manufacturer of seamless tubes, announced its intention to eliminate approximately 2,950 jobs globally, including 320 in France. This was in response to the State’s first social plan since Elisabeth Borne assumed office in Matignon.

In a press release, the group announced a reduction in “approximately 2400 positions” after closing its German sites. It also stated that it had eliminated “approximately 55 positions” in support functions.

Vallourec announced in mid-November that it was selling its German activities. It also stopped the production of industrial tubes in Europe. This announcement came after a long financial restructuring process. It intended to transfer a portion of its activities to Brazil.

“The group’s policy of abandoning its industrial activities is unacceptable” reacted to the President LR of Hauts-deFrance Region, Xavier Bertrand on Twitter, asking the State “to explain its position as a major shareholder through Bpifrance [the Public Investment Bank]”.

He stated that he had requested from Vallourec CEO “an emergency meeting” Friday with employees, elected officials, and management.

“Don’t let our industry’s flagship close,” said Fabien Roussel, Secretary General of the PCF. Sebastien Chenu, spokesperson for National Rally, called on Twitter to remind authorities not to let employees down.

According to the company no “credible buyer” has been found for the German operations, which is why they were closed. Vallourec added that this “results is further streamlining other European assets in charge completing rolled tubes in Germany”. And, in particular, the closing of the heat treatment line at the French factory in Saint-Saulve North.

The 550 jobs that were lost in the rest of Europe are 70 of those in Scotland. These volumes would be sent to France via Aulnoye-Aymeries.

Philippe Guillemot stated that 250 jobs would be eliminated in the north of France. These include around 100 at Saint-Saulve, just over 100 at Aulnoye-Aymeries, and the remainder at the shared services centre in Valenciennes. The restructuring of the group was completed and made more profitable by Philippe Guillemot, who was appointed just two months ago.

Philippe Guillemot suggests that the first departures could occur at the end of 2022 and spread out “over the whole 2023 in Germany”, as this country will continue producing as long as the German volumes are not transferred to Brazil.

“We are fatalistic. We suspected […] it was the closure of the site purely, and simply”, reacted to Michael Tison (CFDT delegate for the Saint-Saulve location), at the exit from the factory where the announcement had been made to employees. He lamented that Vallourec had been able to invest in Brazil and China with public money. They are now building factories there. France is toasting.”

“We are dissatisfied, but we expected it. For years there have been restructurings, and we see the activity decreasing from year to year. It is inevitable. Frederic Boucaut (46 years old) reacted to Frederic Boucaut’s reaction.

Philippe Guillemot reiterated his desire to allow “the classification of our employees in an outside job when that should be” without however revealing the plan. He said that he already had solutions for about a third the French positions being eliminated, including those in retirement, early retirements, and internal reclassifications.

Philippe Guillemot stated that this is “a necessary, but not to say crucial step”, and these decisions must allow the group to be profitable regardless of market conditions.

He hopes to find new outlets for the tubes and position the group “as an important player in the energy transformation and a low carbon economy”, particularly by focusing on “the storage and transport of hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration”.

The company generated 916 million euros in revenue during the first quarter 2022, an increase of 30.5% over the period 2021. This reduced its net loss to 35million euros, against 93 million euros. 93 million euros in the same period last year.