Emblematic file of the deindustrialisation of France, the Luxfer affair finally finds its epilogue. Friday January 7, a solution was found to relaunch the manufacture of oxygen cylinders. Gathered around the prefect of Puy-de-Dôme, the industrialist Europlasma, the representatives of the State, Clermont-Métropole and the regional council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes confirmed their financial commitments, which should allow the new company, Les Forges de Gerzat, to launch its production of aluminum containers by 2024. Two hundred direct jobs must be created.
Europlasma will provide 50 million euros, including 25 million in equity. The State will grant a loan of 15 million euros and a subsidy of 4.5 million euros. Clermont-Métropole will acquire the land and build the future plant for an amount of 34 million euros. The regional council will grant for its part 3 million euros, in particular for training and the acquisition of machines.
Paradoxically, it is the health crisis that has made it possible to revive an activity that is promised to almost certain death. Manufacturer, among other things, of medical oxygen cylinders, the Luxfer company, established since 1939 in the town of Gerzat, in the northern suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand, saw its fate change on November 26, 2018. Despite an activity Profitable, the Anglo-American group Luxfer Gas Cylinders announces the closure of its French plant, the only one to manufacture this type of product in continental Europe. As a result, 136 layoffs and a scheduled closure for spring 2019.
“We were afraid that the management would destroy the machines”
January 26, 2020 begins the blockade of the plant, which lasts fifty-six days. “We were afraid that the management would destroy the machines, in particular two huge presses, before the site was sold”, says Axel Peronczyk, young CGT elected member of the health, safety and working conditions committee. “In March, when France was confined because of the Covid, we deconfined the factory and returned home. » But, in the meantime, the situation had changed. “We saw our bottles on TV, while the debate on health sovereignty was mounting because of the shortage of masks. “ The politicians are seizing the matter. From March 19, the PS MP for Puy-de-Dôme Christine Pirès-Beaune asked for the nationalization of Luxfer. Communist deputy André Chassaigne followed suit, followed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), Olivier Faure (PS) and Marine Le Pen (RN).
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