A torpedo contract and crews on the ground. Australia canceled a purchase contract for 12 French submarines 56 billion euros shake the worlds of shipbuilding and politics. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaks of a “Betrayal” by the Australian government, which has decided to purchase American nuclear-powered submarines, as part of a security agreement concluded with the United States and the United Kingdom.
This end of the contract, which marks the end of a pharaonic construction programme, puts French manufacturer Naval Group in a critical position. suitable for “Contract of the Century”, the Franco-Australian agreement was to be dispersed “fifty years”, Specifies the naval group to Franceinfo. The contract, concluded in December 2016 for an amount of 34 billion euros, was also increased taking into account inflation throughout the duration of the agreement.
The construction program for these twelve buildings consisted of several construction phases, each subject to verification, necessary for the continuation of the project. Started in 2019, the first phase, known as the Functional Review and which listed everything the submarine should be able to do, had just ended on 15 September. this moment, “Australia was satisfied with the performance achieved by the submarine and the progress of the programme”, A source within the Ministry of the Armed Forces, quoted by AFP, assured.
this step was “To continue with a phase of ‘basic design’ for two years, then with a more detailed phase to launch submarines and build plans”handjob Emmanuel Gaudez, director of the Naval Group’s media department, is interviewed by France 3 Normandy. But while the naval group was negotiating the next stage, close to EUR 1.9 billion, Australia halted cooperation on the night of 15 to 16 September.
“We will now hold talks with Australian officials in a constructive position following the end of their appointment to the facility.”naval group
“The financial and contractual consequences of this decision are being analyzed jointly with Australia”, confirms the Navy Group. According to their spokesman Emmanuel Gaudez, the producer intends to request “big money”. The Australian press also mentioned a possible compensation of around 250 million euros. according to deputy Christophe Castaner, who chairs the LREM group in the Assembly, called this breach of contract. fits in any case “for a long time” and can talk “Take Two Years”.
The fact is that this collapsing contract pertains to hundreds of Navy Group employees who invested themselves in the program for five years in France and Australia. On French soil, the teams were spread over six sites. The majority are based in Cherbourg. “500 employees including about fifty Australian workers”, gives details of the Naval Group’s management to FranceInfo. “Fifty are in Nantes-Indret, 30 in Toulon-Olioules, 20 in Brest, 10 in Lorient and 10 in Angoulme-Ruel.”
“There was a heavy workload on these teams, especially those responsible for the study and engineering at Cherbourg”, The UNSA-Naval group refers to the union’s staff and central representative, Philippe Emirio, who was contacted by FranceInfo.
“If it is possible that employees will have to change sites, then there is no question of creating a backup plan.”Philippe Emeriu, Unsa trade unionist
“Our current priority is to change the internal location of all concerned employees”, Thus warns the trade unionist who welcomes hitherto “transparency” And this “reactivity” of direction. Interviewed by France 3 Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, the The union’s deputy general secretary ruled out possible layoffs.
Overall, Philippe Emirio remains confident in the group’s financial health: regardless. “Losing 10 to 15% of your business in the coming years”, the order book is full, “With frigates, new aircraft carriers and third generation submarines”. Above all, he fears that the affair will damage his reputation. “The competition will defame us by arguing that Naval Group has not been able to properly respond to the contract’s decision.”
Five days after the news, There is a support unit be established”, also informs the manufacturer. “We will also receive personally all employees involved in the Australian program to assess their situation with them and study with them the possibility of relocating them to a new position in Cherbourg or at another site.handjob We at Naval Group assure. In 2016, this new contract was to make it possible to retain 3,000 to 4,000 jobs and provide approximately four million working hours for Navy Group employees and subcontractors.
Management’s priority today “protect the interests of” [ses] employees, in France and Australia”. Because across the Indian Ocean, the future is “uncertain” For expatriate staff in the group’s Australian subsidiary which was responsible for assembling the submarines. “We don’t know what will happen to them, or even the naval base that is being built”, asks Philippe Emeriu.
And the French group caught in the turmoil is not alone. Because in the wake of the 2016 agreement, twenty-six French companies, including 12 SMEs and 11 large conglomerates, had established or developed in Australia with a view to participating in the project, recalls the Groupement des Industrie d’Construction et Naval Activities (JICAN). ) the latter is expected to avoid “The Rise of the French Industrial Presence in Australia”.
The Confederation of SMEs (CPME) called on the state to support the Naval Group subcontractors who were penalized by this cancellation, for the most part located in the Cherbourg employment area. Nonviolence is one of them. Established in the region for over ten years, it works regularly with the Naval Group, an industrial engineering supplier. “We were in house to answer a call for tenders on the construction schedule”, gives details of its CEO Marc Paulin at FranceInfo.
If only ten people were planned at the start of the collaboration, the company had ambitions to go up “hundred employees within 5 to 10 years”.
“It’s a growth potential that doesn’t exist today…”Ingéliance. CEO of Mark Palin
Beyond shortfalls, Ingéliance’s boss fears that Naval Group will re-internalize engineering and no longer call service providers as much.
The city of Cherbourg is also becoming a matter of concern. During the last city council, the mayor Benoit Arive reiterates his commitment “80 AAustralians who have made their living here for a few months or a few years”handjob to ensure “The local employment fabric needs to be able to provide opportunities to them”. He also asked the chief the state of the channel that puts “Very early” set up a local support unit to guide the re-transformation of “These men and women” badly affected by this crisis”. In a fortnight, the mayor is to meet the prime minister with whom he says he wants “To emphasize the social and economic responsibility of the state in the region”.
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