By Yann Rivallan
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Could this be the conclusion of a long standoff between unions and management ? More than two years after the start of the mobilization Thales employees about the uncertain future of Pont-Audemer site (Your), they seem to see the end of the tunnel.
On April 13, 2022, a somewhat special meeting took place in the premises formerly managed by Gemalto. The Thales press service explains: “On April 13, the sixth Central Anticipation Commission (CCA) was held at the Pont-Audemer site. During this Central Anticipation Commission set up specifically for this project, the progressive installation of a sustainable chain for the production of assembled electronic boards (PCBA) was presented. This would translate into three phases of setting up five production lines over ten years, in addition to the historical activity. »
In short, this means thata new production will see the light of day on the industrial chains of Pont-Audemer. Where the historical production of the site, smart cards – Where SIM cardsused mainly by telephone operators – is on the decline, the one electronic cards (used for example for Rafale fighter planes) will gradually replace it. MP Marie Tamarelle-Verhaeghe, who is actively following the case, returns to the course of events.
We’ve been on it for more than two years now, always with this concern around management decisions. There had already been job cuts after the takeover of Gemalto by Thales in 2019 and there was a risk of more in the medium to long term. It was a great source of concern because when you reduce a workforce, you weaken it.
Indeed on the decline, the production of SIM cards will gradually decrease over the years and may even disappear in the long term. This is why the unions and elected officials have been warning about the site’s situation for many months. For two years, “the 263 employees of Thales in Pont-Audemer”, as Marie Tamarelle-Verhaeghe points out, held their breath. To avoid job cuts, negotiations have been initiated between the unions and management. Negotiations joined by local elected officials, such as the deputy or the new mayor of Pont-Audemer, Alexis Darmois. The French state also had a role to play. A 25% shareholder in Thales, the State took part in the negotiations, in search of the best compromise for the Pont-Audemer site.
After various meetings and an in-depth study of the infrastructures in Pont-Audemer, the management therefore made the choice to “reinternalize [sa] production of electronic cards” gradually in the Norman Venice. This news is “an unspeakable joy” for the MP, who ensures that this decision will allow “the safeguarding of jobs” and, little by little, “a minimum increase of 300 employees”. That is to say, job creations to return to a level of employees similar to that before the takeover.
Job creations in the future?
And if we look further, Marie Tamarelle-Verhaeghe also hypothesizes that even more jobs will be created. The Thales press service is also going in this direction.
This project, which is the result of in-depth work involving numerous Group entities in 2021, would make it possible to maintain, or even develop, employment on the Pont-Audemer site by ensuring an increase in skills towards modern digital technologies.
In this sense, the land that Thales operates still includes a large land reserve, suggesting a possible extension of the plant in the years to come, synonymous with additional jobs. And the geographical position of Pont-Audemer, near the interchanges of the A13 and the port of Le Havre, is a non-negligible asset for the electronics company, specializing in aerospace, defence, security and transport. earthly.
From now on, there remains a whole component of training to requalify Thales employees and allow, within ten years, to transform the activity of the Pont-Audemer site. It is in any case a happy ending that welcomes the deputy of the 3rd constituency of Eure, who claims to have witnessed “constructive exchanges and good cooperation with the unions”, which “have borne fruit” .
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