Friday, February 23

What is Schneider Electric hiding?

Schneider Electric, the French multinational world leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has begun the process to transfer a percentage of the production of its Griñón plant to another that the group has in the Italian town of Stezzano.

The company carries out its activity in the South region of the Community of Madrid, where it has been established for more than half a century and employs 180 men and women, in addition to supporting the activity of some thirty supply companies. At the Griñón plant, it manufactures a modular unit called SM6, a flagship product with an excellent commercial outlet both nationally and for export, on which the survival of said plant depends.

The French multinational is reluctant to explain what the reasons are for having made the decision to relocate, especially when it is a competitive plant with a workforce adjusted to production needs.

This decision, therefore, is not due to objective reasons, as we verified on July 28, 2021 when the management of Schneider Electric Griñón informed the works council that things were going well, that the workforce and workload were adjusted , that there were no red numbers, that production for the second semester was guaranteed, and even that they would not carry out a planned dismissal. On October 26 they reconfirmed the good performance of the company.

Not even a month passed when, on November 24, the centre’s management, out of the blue, informed the union representatives and the entire workforce of the multinational’s plans to transfer part of the production of the SM6 cell outside of Spain . They did so without clarifying why, except that it was due to group “strategic” reasons. The same, concise and only argument that Schneider Electric executives offered to CCOO in a tense meeting at the headquarters of the Association of Metal Companies in Madrid on November 18, which only served to confirm, as the union feared, that in a few months there would be “overcrowding”. From here, the French multinational has not detailed what percentage of the production it is going to take from the Griñón plant, nor what alternatives it is considering to compensate for the loss of workload, nor what the impact on the workforce will be.

This attitude of the company highlights the lack of transparency and the opacity of information, and makes us fear the worst, that is, that once the manufacturing line and, above all, the associated knowledge are established in Italy, the real plans are those of move one hundred percent of the production of the SM6 there and dismantle or reduce activity at the Madrid plant to a minimum. If this happens, it would lead to a dramatic destruction of employment and the impoverishment and economic suffocation of the southern region of Madrid, and will accentuate the industrial decline of the region.

To all of the above we must add a not insignificant element, and that is that less than a year ago, in a work meeting at the Schneider Electric offices in San Sebastián de los Reyes with the Ministry of Industry, the company presented some of the initiatives in which he worked for the acceleration of the digitization and sustainability of the small and medium-sized Spanish industry. “It is a great satisfaction – the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, declared before the media -, to have companies like Schneider Electric within the public-private ecosystem that works together on the Recovery Plan to vindicate cities like Madrid. .”.

It would be desirable to know if this public-private collaboration has translated into aid from public funds or tax advantages for the consolidation and development of the French multinational in the Community of Madrid.

Be that as it may, the problem is deep enough for both the Regional Executive and the Government of Spain to take action on the matter. Especially when this decision coincides in time with the signing of the Quirinal Agreement between France and Italy, a strategic alliance between Paris and Rome that places special emphasis on cooperation between the two countries in terms of environmental sustainability at a time of great uncertainty due to the effects of the green transition on the economy and employment. It is not unreasonable to think that the French multinational’s plan to boost production in northern Italy may be due to the interests of the French government. Nothing to object to, unless this happens to harm the workers of the Community of Madrid.

Many questions and no certainty, except that of the dark future that hangs over the jobs of 180 people, a high percentage of whom are over 45 years old, and the disaster for a lot of auxiliary companies and for the Community of Madrid. But the workers of Madrid are not weak, nor are we alone. We are not going to allow Schneider Electric to run wild. The company committee called the first 24-hour strike last Thursday, accompanied by a rally in front of the French Embassy in Madrid. CCOO of Madrid will put all its efforts as the first trade union force in the region to defend the employment of workers, that is, of ours.