After the announced closure of two pipe factories of the French Vallourec group in North Rhine-Westphalia, workers expressed deep disappointment.
According to IG Metall, almost 1,000 employees attended the information event organized by the works council at the factory in Düsseldorf on Thursday. Small crosses with spaced heaters should illustrate the mood of the cemetery. A doll was hung on a large cross to symbolize the workforce as a whole.
“Vallourec has resigned and now wants to get rid of us as soon as possible,” works council member Vilson Gegic said at the event. But they will “continue to fight” for concessions from the management.
Düsseldorf and Mülheim an der Ruhr
On Wednesday evening, the French group announced the closure of two traditional German plants in Düsseldorf and Mülheim an der Ruhr. “From an economic point of view, it is inevitable,” Vallourec Germany boss Herbert Schaaff told the press on Thursday morning – German business was losing money.
Although there were offers to buy from three financial investors, they were “disappointing” and lacked a realistic concept. On the other hand, industrial companies did not want to take over plants with a total of 2,400 employees, of which 1,650 in Düsseldorf and 750 in Mülheim an der Ruhr.
According to manager Schaaff, a continuation concept was investigated in which staff would be reduced by at least a third. According to internal forecasts, this concept would not be “economically viable”. “We couldn’t expect a positive result in four or five years at the earliest.”
The Union demands a solid social deal on wages
Later, at a works council meeting, IG Metaller Karsten Kaus vented his dissatisfaction with the company’s conduct. “The sales process was a farce and we doubt that the proposed continuation concept has even been scrutinized in detail.” The union now demands “a solid wage agreement to alleviate social hardship as much as possible.” Extensive check-in programs are needed. “And if the conversation goes to nothing, then everything is prepared for protest,” said Kaus.
Both plants were once owned by Mannesmannrohren-Werke AG. The plant in Düsseldorf in the Rath district has been in operation since 1899, and the plant in Mülheim since 1966. Vallourec Germany has already closed another location in Düsseldorf in 2020. Since 2015, the company has already laid off around 1,400 jobs in the country.
The French group wants to continue running a small research center in Riesa, Saxony, but is abandoning German production. The pipeline business for oil and gas fields is to be relocated to Brazil, while the pipeline business for machine and plant construction is to be discontinued. “It’s a strategic decision you have to accept,” said Schaaff. (dpa)