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IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES. Bridgestone: employees demonstrate in front of the Béthune plant, doomed to closure


More than a hundred employees gathered Friday, November 27, in the morning, in front of the Bridgestone tire plant in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), doomed to closure. Their objective: to protest the call of the inter-union, against the turn taken by the negotiations with a management which “try to save time”.

A Bridgestone employee demonstrates in front of the Béthune plant (Pas-de-Calais), November 27, 2020 (DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

“We are not going to let it go (…) we are warning the management, things will harden. We are ready to fight for there to be a buyer and for the PSE [plan de sauvegarde de l’emploi], that employees leave with dignity “, said Bruno Wable, CGT assistant secretary in front of the factory.

“The management must change its attitude”, for his part said the president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand (ex-LR). “They are still not doing the right thing, the negotiations they started yesterday (…) it’s not a surprise, it is not going well.”

The future of 863 employees “is dark, it is absolutely necessary that we enlighten it with guarantees, redeployment leave, supralegal bonuses. The whole weight of the State must be put to make Bridgestone pay”, advocated LFI deputy of the Somme François Ruffin, also come in support. “Quick, take over the site and promote solidarity to produce in France! “, advocates LFI deputy Adrien Quatennens.

A meeting of negotiations of the PES (on pensions and early retirement) was held Thursday without leading to an agreement, according to the unions. “Management has stopped negotiations“said Stéphane Ducrocq, lawyer for the intersyndicale.

“Our leaders are pure provocation. We want an agreement theme by theme” and “they want to mix everything up”, echoed Denis Drouet, CFDT union delegate. “We know that the factory will close (…) we want to show the strength of the inter-union to influence the negotiations”, he added.

The demonstrators burned pallets and planted a few wooden crosses on the road along the site.

Wooden crosses planted in front of the Bridgestone factory in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), November 27, 2020 (DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

A first meeting of the monitoring committee bringing together state and communities on recovery projects is to be held next week, Xavier Bertrand told AFP.



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