Why is the Constellium group putting their foundry in Ussel (Corrèze) up for sale?

“We were all surprised. We didn’t expect that. This is how Christophe Coudert, representative of the CGT union in Constellium, summed up the state of mind of the employees who learned, Thursday morning, during a social and economic committee (CSE) of the group’s desire to sell the ussello site that employs 270 people and manufactures parts for aeronautics.
“This is a monthly CSE and the director explained to us that the Constellium group will put the Ussel foundry up for sale, summed up the unionist. He also told us that, at the moment, there is no potential buyer but there will be visits in the next week. The process has started! We are a little scared because of the energy crisis that affects all the foundries, but we never thought of selling the site…”

“No synergy with other group activities”

In a press release, the Constellium team was more evasive, while confirming the information. “Constellium has informed the staff representatives of the Ussel site of its intention to study the possible sale of this plant specialized in precision foundry. ” Why such a decision ? It fits, says Constellium, “with the group’s strategy to refocus mainly on moving and rotating activities. However, the Ussel site is a foundry and “the latter is not part of the future plans of the group”, analyzes Christophe Coudert. The group’s press release goes in the same direction: “The Ussel site has the highest expertise in precision casting for the aeronautics and space, defense and industrial markets. The Ussel site does not benefit from significant synergies with other group activities”, before adding: “Constellium is therefore currently making a deep reflection on the possibility of a possible sale of a buyer whose financial strength and seriousness of the industrial plan. will ensure the future development of this activity. »

“We earn little, we have nothing to lose” explained a striker from Constellium, in Ussel (Corrèze)

However the order book is full, according to CGT

On the side of the employees, this announcement has the effect of a cold shower. “The order book is full, we do not understand but the change of owner must have consequences for the employees”, estimates the CGT.
For its part, the management of the group indicated that it will “immediately inform and consult with the staff representatives and inform all stakeholders if the discussions are fulfilled. During this time, the plant will continue to serve its customers with the same level of quality and commitment. »

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The concern of the employees and the City

This sale of the Ussel site also concerns the side of the town hall in Ussel. “The city of Ussel lives in the rhythm of the ups and downs of life in this foundry that the Ussellois still call Montupet. A few years ago, it employed 800 people, recalls the mayor Christophe Arfeuillère, vice-president in charge of economic development of the community of Haute Corrèze (HCC). Today, there are less than 300 employees with recognized knowledge and an exceptional quality of work. When we talk about selling a site, we must be concerned. “For the mayor, the site, which is getting old, needs heavy investment.
“In 2020, Joël Giraud, who was then Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, announced, during a visit to the factory, state aid to invest in the site. In the end, they did not reach Ussel but were paid by the sites that produced more profitable products. In Ussel, the ovens running on gas are available 24 hours a day except for two weeks a year… Constellium encountered problems with profitability and attractiveness of employees…”, specifies the elected official who shows that he is closely monitoring this sale. .

Estelle Bardelot

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