In La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, life is slow at the Durex factory

From our particular correspondent in La Chapelle-Sainte-Mesmin,

“If I have been you, I would not go there, there could be nobody to speak to and nothing to see,” Suliman suggested us., Durelex staff and CFDT representatives for fifteen years, once we expressed our want to go for a stroll close to Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, a suburb of Orléans (Loiret). A sobering warning of the troublesome context the firm is going by way of. It should be mentioned that since November 1 and the standby of the Durelex factory furnace, the metropolis has attracted the consideration of the media.

For all former schoolchildren in France, Durelex means a Proust Madeleine: who didn’t look at the quantity on the backside of his glass to search out out his age along with his classmates, between two fries and a combat over mashed potatoes?

Sustainability Bill

At La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, Duralex an establishment. During regular hours, the factory runs uninterrupted 7 days per week and 12 months a 12 months, with its 250 staff all tending to this tireless furnace. The latter ought to by no means be closed, as a result of restarting would price an excessive amount of: rely 12 million euros, to not point out the potential harm if the glass is badly cooled.

Here, we run 70% on fuel and 30% on electrical energy, two payments which have risen considerably in current months with inflation and the warfare in Ukraine. Finally the ax fell: short-time work for all and the factory “placed on standby” from November 1. Standby, as a result of even with costs reaching, “it is extra worthwhile to maintain the oven on than to show it off. To cease it, it may be seen dying”, mentioned Francois, the factory employee who got here to fulfill us. “We have not stopped since 1945,” boasts considered one of the staff. Against all odds, the hearth continues to burn, however at a low temperature, inadequate to provide new glass.

Minimum service and solely 30% staff

Like a frying pan on a plate that can go unhealthy if you happen to do not put one thing on it, the oven additionally wants materials to keep away from tilting. At La Chapelle-Sainte-Messim, crushed glass is repeatedly injected into it, which melts in the furnace, cools once more, and is re-injected. “At excessive power, we are able to make our personal glass,” explains Francois. But that will be too costly. We have stopped this exercise. We simply run the oven and feed it what it wants so it would not go unhealthy. »

Many machines in factories are shut down as a result of they devour an excessive amount of power. – JLD/20 minutes

Like his furnace, the factory runs on minimal service. On this November morning, you possibly can stroll down lots of the firm’s aisles with out assembly anybody. Fortunately, the oven likes to remind us with its fixed hum, filling the silence of the machines which might be not operating and the staff who’ve stayed dwelling. “We need to be 30% of the workforce, perhaps much less,” feedback Francois. It is sufficient to watch the oven, run it and put together inventory deliveries upfront.

10. The Depression of the Lonely

Once you get used to the cooking broth, the silence is heavy once more. Not precisely a ghost factory – we met a dozen on our hour-long tour – however removed from haunted. Supplier of all colleges in France in the previous. When staff greet one another as they move one another, they appear stunned to see one another.

The Durelex factory has been sounding somewhat empty since November 1st.
The Durelex factory has been sounding considerably empty since November 1st. -JLD

Suliman now works ten days a month, paying 95% of the wage: “It is sure that we’re not the most merciful, he says relative. What occurs at Durelex impacts different factories in the nation And it should proceed. We are fortunate to have assist and to be properly protected. And then, we’re an iconic model, the French is not going to overlook us in a couple of months. “The state intervened, asserting assist of 15 million euros “to actually enable them to spend the winter”, in the phrases of Industry Minister Roland Lescure. For the CEO of the glass factory, José-Louis Lacuna, this mortgage will improve prices by “7 to 10 million euros” in 2022. Despite “permitting to look into the future with confidence. Reassuring and this is a constructive sign”, emphasizes Suliman. Behind these arguments, smiles crack: “When I am going to work and I see the car parking zone so empty, it at all times hurts my coronary heart very badly… We stroll by way of the factory And there are solely ten folks there, which is disappointing. »

Confidence in a brilliant future

Confidence in a rosy tomorrow contradicts: the factory should 100% restart on April 1 at the newest and no unhealthy surprises or April Fool’s jokes may be anticipated. “Electricity tariffs have already been set and paid, which ought to keep away from an explosion of prices,” assures Francois. From January, in-house coaching and machine refurbishment have been organized to deliver extra staff again to the factory. Here too is a constructive sign for Sulaiman. The solely concern, “a potential whole lower of fuel… In this case, I actually have no idea how we’ll do it. »

Local bars have extra hearts left and extra folks per sq. meter. Here, life goes on, with sky-high costs and staff who isolate themselves. “There is no distinction in attendance in comparison with November 1,” the server assures us, and the variety of greetings and private joke Gives an everyday bar impression on the counter. As Suliman confirmed to us, we is not going to discover many staff there: “We mainly keep at dwelling, we maintain the youngsters going out, deliver them to sports activities, we take our amenities. »

Everyone has their issues

If Duralex is the satisfaction of the metropolis, the latter nonetheless has 9,750 residents who usually are not firm staff, sufficient to keep up a traditional existence. Still at the bar, we discuss extra about Quinté’s future outcomes or leaky ceilings than the factory. Everyone has their issues, and everybody has to pay their payments.

We discover extra sympathy for Duralex’s plight once we meet Sylvie, 67, nostalgic for the ballets of automobiles coming and going to the glass factory. “It’s one thing to keep in mind that we do not make glass right here anymore. But the factory has lasted all these years and can proceed to take action. “The glass factory, after being positioned in receivership a couple of months in the past, has confronted difficulties in taking up the extremism, notably in January 2021. Sylvie would provide us to complete our breakfast at dwelling with espresso and biscuits, “But you perceive, the value hike and my little leisure…”, she mutters embarrassed. At La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, it isn’t a lot that we have misplaced our sense of hospitality, it is simply that occasions are powerful.

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