Social protest intensifies at the Total refinery in Grandpuits

Employees, on strike since January 4, voted to renew the movement. They contest the project to convert the site into a production unit for biofuels and bioplastics.

The anger does not fall at Total’s Grandpuits refinery. Employees of the site located in Seine-et-Marne, who have been carrying out a renewable strike since January 4, voted unanimously on Thursday to renew the movement. A new general assembly is scheduled for next Monday at 2 p.m. to decide on the follow-up to be given to the movement. “Today, almost 100% of current employees, that is to say those who manage production, are on strike. Some of the employees in support services, such as accounting, are on strike for an hour or two a day», Specifies Adrien Cornet, CGT delegate of Grandpuits.

«For the moment nothing is happening inside the site. Production has been stopped for several weeks for material reasons and with this strike, we have ended all work related to dismantling, such as degassing», Specifies Adrien Cornet. On the other hand, the trucks continue to leave the site to transport the fuel.

Controversy over the figures

Grandpuits refiners have been mobilized since Total announced last September of its intention to stop refining on this site by the end of 2023. This activity should give way to a conversion project focused on the production of biofuels and bioplastics, and the operation of two solar photovoltaic plants.

According to Total, the reconversion of the Grandpuits site, the cost of which is estimated at 500 million euros, should not lead to any layoffs but to early retirement and internal mobility to other sites. Management affirms that 250 out of the 400 jobs currently on the Grandpuits platform and the associated Gargenville depot, in the Yvelines region, will be maintained.

But the employees of Grandpuits, associated with those of Gargenville, do not believe it. According to CGT calculations, 700 jobs are in the hot seat. “There are 450 of us working in Grandpuits and Gargenville, including about 50 temporary or fixed-term contracts that management does not count. And there are between 700 and 1000 subcontractors, depending on the period. In total, we will have 200 jobs cut at Total and 500 at subcontractors», Assures the union. The latter also fears “forced transfers». «There is a subcontractor who has been found a job in 93. It’s two hours from his home. And we told him ‘take it or leave it’», Deplores Adrien Cornet.

For its part, the management claims to be conducting negotiations concerning employees and their accompanying social measures (MSA), provided for by the job protection plan (PSE), since the beginning of December.

New deadline January 26

According to union representatives, employees are not opposed to a retraining project, but not in these terms. “We all want to go beyond fossil fuels, but we have to think of a real energy transition project with zero job losses. The transition must not be a pretext for job cuts», Believes Adrien Cornet.

On Thursday, the refiners said they would not give up the fight until they were successful. “We will do GAs regularly to decide on the consequences of the movement», Warns Adrien Cornet. The terms of the job protection plan will be presented on January 26 at a social and economic committee (CSE).

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