Belfort : Bercy request to GE to review its restructuring plan

Bruno The Mayor puts the pressure on General Electric (GE). The minister of Economy chaired Wednesday evening a committee for monitoring the commitments made by

Belfort : Bercy request to GE to review its restructuring plan

Bruno The Mayor puts the pressure on General Electric (GE). The minister of Economy chaired Wednesday evening a committee for monitoring the commitments made by GE in 2014 during the purchase of the business energy of Alstom. This committee was installed following the announcement by the american group of a broad restructuring plan, which must pass by the deletion of 1044 jobs, including 792 in the branch of gas turbines located in Belfort. According to the findings of Bruno The Mayor, "the restructuring plan envisioned would result in the breaking of the commitments made by GE if it was completed without modification". Therefore, he asks the executive officer of GE of the improved "very significantly".

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According to Bercy, the commitments likely to be broken include the maintenance of the centres of decision-making related to gas turbines, 50 hz. The latter would be threatened in the fields of "supervision of commercial activities", the "strategy of supply chain" and "R&D", list-t-he in a press release. The department is asking GE to "ensure over the long term (...) keeping the know-how of the site of Belfort" in these areas. The minister added that he will have it soon with the CEO of GE, Lawrence Culp, "in order to obtain the necessary changes of the plan".

The unions called on to negotiate

Under pressure, the us group says it is ready to review its copy. GE is "working on possible measures to adapt the project to ongoing reorganization, while enabling it to recover sustainable competitiveness of the gas activity to the site of Belfort in a market that is very degraded". In this respect, the management has called on the unions to join it to "promptly initiate negotiations". These must take place before the end of the procedure, on 21 October. On Europe 1, Philippe Petitcolin, of the CFE-CGC de Belfort, however, has warned: "we do not want to discuss an improvement to the profit margin. We want a new plan".

The trade unions recall that they say that they are ready to attack the State if the government fails to convince GE to keep its commitments. As a reminder, in 2015, the american giant, who had to shell out 13 billion euros to put the hand on the branch energy Alstom at the end of an interminable series of economic policy, had promised to create 1000 jobs in france and to maintain the essential activities of gas turbines, as well as the centre of global decision of this activity on the site belfortain.

Four years later, the promise has not been kept. General Electric has created in France and 25 net new jobs, according to the calculations of Bercy, which earned him a penalty of 50 million euros. The government now wants to GE to keep his other promises concerning the maintenance of activity in gas turbines in Belfort. The unions ensure that the decline of this sector is only temporary and that a turnaround in the market is expected to intervene quickly. But GE does not believe in it, and speaks of a necessary adaptation of the site. Several scenarios are envisaged for the maintenance of employment, such as manufacture of turbines for aircraft engines. But these projects will not prevent the implementation of the plan of departure, warned in June last Hugh Bailey, chief executive officer of general Electric France.

Updated Date: 14 September 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees

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