Technicolor employees challenge the state on layoffs

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Demonstration of Technicolor employees, in Rennes, on September 17th. DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

“Money from [la banque publique d’investissement] Will Bpifrance allow Technicolor’s management to relocate to India? How can the State finance relocations? ” These are the questions that the employees of the Technicolor site in Cesson-Sévigné (Ille-et-Vilaine), specializing in digital decoders, have been asking the public authorities since they learned, on July 2, of the elimination of 110 jobs (on 286). Employee representatives maintain that the software development activity will be transferred to India, with the hiring of engineers locally and the transfer of know-how. A relocation, in short, that Technicolor’s management would have recognized at the first meeting of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) this summer, but that it did not want to confirm or deny at the World.

The company places these redundancies in “A transformation plan” aiming to “Continue rationalization” of its R&D sites, many of which have already been closed abroad. These layoffs come especially at a critical time for Technicolor, placed under safeguard procedure by the commercial court this summer when, heavily in debt, it risked not being able to repay a loan. The rescue plan took place in two stages: a restructuring of its debts and the entry of new money. This is where Bpifrance comes in.

Read also the column: “The story of Technicolor is that of the end of an ambition”

A Technicolor (ex-Thomson) shareholder since 2013, the public bank held, before the summer financial operations, 7.58% of the capital, and proportional voting rights. As part of the safeguard procedure, it has undertaken, like all shareholders, to subscribe for new shares. She thus reinjected 20 million euros in the company at the end of August. After, therefore, the announcement of the layoff plan, the employees are indignant. « Bpifrance returned to the pot knowing that they were relocating!, insists Nicolas Grelier, spokesperson for the intersyndicale. How could she support the financial plan without more conditions on employment? We are surprised that they let this go so easily. “ « It is difficult to understand the role of Bpifrance “, adds LRM deputy for Ille-et-Villaine Laurence Maillart-Méhaignerie, who was received with the employees and the mayor of Cesson-Sévigné, on September 2, at the Ministry of the Economy.

“Financial restructuring”

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