The US Nov Grant Prideco group has announced the closure of two plants in Sambre-Avesnois: 129 jobs will be cut. On 24 January, the group officially announced the closure of its plants at Aulnoye-Aymeries (ex-Vallourec Drilling) and Berlaimont (Tuboscope). A meeting with staff representatives took place on 28 January.
'In an increasingly tense market context, we have to react without delay and take difficult decisions to address the structural overcapacity situation we are facing and ensure the sustainability of our activities', explains the company in a press release. According to the US group, the demand for drill pipes, which was the core business of the two sites, is decreasing and overproduction would lead to overcapacity. The production volumes achieved at the Aulnoye-Aymeries and Berlaimont sites will be transferred to other sites of the group, mainly in the United States and China. The two plants were sold 14 months ago by the Vallourec group.
Some trade unionists are denouncing an arrangement that enabled Vallourec to 'sell off' the two plants in order to avoid being held responsible for the closure. They believe that the American group took the know-how and left.
Local elected representatives are mobilising to demand an intervention of the Minister of Economy.