The food giant Cargill has decided to reorganise the activity of its Haubourdin plant to produce only the most profitable products, namely specialty ingredients with multi-sourced starches (wheat, corn, potato, and so on). This reorganisation, announced to employees in a written statement, resulted in the elimination of 183 jobs out of 315 and in the creation of 19 new jobs. This decision will lead to the closure of the starch extraction unit from maize grains and the cessation of the production of lower value-added products.
Management explains that over the past five years, the plant has recorded losses for several million euro; negative results are caused by high logistics costs because, unlike the Cargill sites in Italy or Spain, the Haubourdin site is not located in corn production areas. In addition, the business faces competition from Eastern European countries and higher added value from other raw materials such as potatoes and wheat.
Following this announcement, the unions called for an indefinite strike and ceased production. According to the unions, the jobs affected by this announcement are more numerous than the figure put forward, because management does not take into account indirect jobs and subcontractors.