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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #280 - Montreuil, the " Green Factory": Work AND Health (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 26 Feb 2018 10:58:33 +0200

The Green Factory Montreuil, as it is called, is a case study of difficulties in articulating environmental struggles and economic struggles. How to defend the employment of factory workers without sacrificing their health and that of the inhabitants of the neighborhood? ---- Montreuil, November 2017, a street in the Guilands neighborhood. In front of a building covered in green sheet - here everyone calls it the " Green Factory " - a group of neighbors gathered again. In the cold little morning we discuss. From the Green Factory precisely. Will it be closed yes or no ? This is what inhabitants have been demanding for months at the prefecture, accusing the factory and its toxic emissions of being a public danger. Suddenly, some workers and workers leave the building, furious: " Get out ! Mingle with your business ! We are not sick ! And our jobs, we thought about it ? " Embarrassed, the small gathering wipes the invectives, but does not move.

The dilemma of employment and the environment
The scene is emblematic of the painful contradictions between two legitimate demands: health security on the part of residents ; the maintenance of employment by employees. Throughout the second half of 2017, she struck the union movement and Montreal political organizations.

The Green Factory, whose real name is the new heavy metals eugenics company (Snem) is a company specializing in the surface treatment of metal parts for civil and military aviation, in particular for the Airbus and Safran groups. The company manages two sites, one in Gellainville (Eure-et-Loire) and the other in Montreuil. The latter, because of its highly polluting activity, requires a special operating license. The factory is located since 1972 near two primary schools (Jules-Ferry 1 and 2), two kindergartens (Jules-Ferry and Anne-Frank), a nursing home for adults and a college under construction, scheduled to open in September 2018. Snem Montreuil uses 19 chemicals, including chromium VI, a carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic agent.

For more than 10 years, a group of residents regularly calls the prefecture about the screaming obsolescence of buildings and unusual conditions in which the operation of this site continues: leaky roofs, employees' hands in the chrome, feet in the water, bathers forced to do balancing over chemical baths to get out of the jammed rooms. Those responsible for this situation are mainly Airbus and Safran Nacelles, who prefer to give subcontracting companies the dirty work to increase their profits, fail to respect environmental standards, working conditions and impose low prices.

The collective was joined by two neighborhood associations, as well as UL Solidaires. The mobilization has gained momentum this autumn: demonstrations including that of September 27, which was the subject of a surprisingly violent police repression, weekly GA, school deserted. From the point of view of the social movement, the UL-CGT, which also has a delegate in the factory, has a position mainly focused on the defense of employment rather than on environmental concerns, and does not claim the closure of the plant. UCL-FCPE actively supports mobilization (administrative occupation of schools and deserted school days). The UL-Solidaires has an acrobatic but courageous position requiring at the same time the closure of the site and the reclassification of employees at the contractors. Employee.

Faced with the mobilization, the Snem was put in residence, via a prefectural order on August 8, to improve the storage and disposal of its waste and to bring its ventilation system into compliance. A counter-visit of expertise was carried out by the regional and interdepartmental management of the environment and energy (Driee) in November, to see that the adequate work had been done. The prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis has therefore lifted the formal notice and excluded at this time any closure of the plant. Can these studies be taken seriously when the production manager was covered by sensors while he remained in his office and the bathers directly concerned were not equipped with them? ? In legal terms, a court administrator has been appointed by the commercial court. The question of the future of the plant is very concrete.

Close the factory and reclassify the employees.

If the question of safety is crucial, it is for us not to forget about the employees of the factory. They are 14, a majority of whom will have great difficulty finding a job. An employee was dismissed for denouncing his working conditions and witnessing illegal acts in the control of the parts delivered to Airbus and Safran. The collective demands his reinstatement. And if the factory closed, who would bear the burden of the depollution and reclassification of its employees ? As long as Snem is considered as a mere subcontractor of Airbus, this responsibility lies with the municipality of Montreuil.

One solution would be the requalification of the site into a subsidiary of the Airbus group. Costs of depollution and reclassification would thus fall to the parent company. To do this, we must prove that the aerospace giant holds at least 50% of the capital of Snem and that it imposes specific processes, in this case here chromium VI. In addition, the group declines all responsibility for the mismanagement of toxic waste that falls under public regulations controlled by the relevant departments of the State, to which Airbus can not replace. The latest news, the prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis was to conduct a study on soils and soil gas would be carried out before January 28. It also stated its willingness to " complete these analyzes with a series of additional investigations being defined ".

On the side of the collective AL Montreuil, we think that the strategy defended by UL Solidaires is the most relevant, even if it is risky. The risk is that once the closure is acquired, the local residents leave the workers and the workers to their fate. Hopefully this will not be the case, and that the population mobilized for the closure of the plant will then be as tenacious to guarantee the future of the employees.

Dora (AL Montreuil)

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