Back in May, workers at the GM&S auto-suppliers plant in Creuse, France occupied the factory to protest the plant’s threat of liquidation due to low orders. The plant has not been liquidated, but approximately 157 employees of the plant’s 277 will be laid off.
In response, some 100 GM&S employees broke out in protest outside PSA Peugeot, one of the car manufacturers that GM&S supplies with parts to build their products, in Poissy, a commune just northwest of Paris. These employees are demanding that the car companies they typically do business with consolidate and increase their combined orders in order to boost the GM&S factory’s production and prevent layoffs, and possible liquidation.
This is not the first time GM&S employees have taken action. In May, protesting employees at the GM&S plant booby-trapped their own machines and threatened to destroy much of the factory’s expensive machinery if their demands were not met. Burning tires, blockades, and violent altercations with police ensued. When asked why they reacted with self-sabotage, spokesman Vincent Labrousse said, “We did not want it to get here, but we don’t have a choice: our average age is 49, what else will we do?”
Closure of this plant could be very detrimental to many of the plant’s 280 workers, a common theme in post-industrial society. As more and more blue-collar jobs can be filled by machines, individuals like Labrousse and his colleagues have lost valuable years of their lives to companies that have refused to offer them job security or training when factories such as this one change hands. One can only hope that a solution may be reached at a company level that prevents these factories from going down, and their workers with them.