why 100% partial unemployment could make a comeback

why 100% partial unemployment could make a comeback
The Duralex factory must put nearly 250 employees on partial unemployment (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)

The Duralex factory must put nearly 250 employees on partial unemployment (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)

The device, popularized during the Covid-19 crisis, could be widely deployed again in the event of an energy crisis this winter.

The return of massively deployed partial unemployment? The device, which saved many companies during the various confinements during the Covid-19 crisis, could again be massively deployed.

In question, soaring energy prices and possible restrictions next winter. Noting the surge in electricity prices, some companies have already chosen to resort to partial unemployment. This is for example the case of the Duralex glassworks, whose president explains that “energy represented 5 to 7% of our turnover a year ago. Today, that represents 40%”.

The bill of electricity passes from 7 to 80 million in this company

“Faced with this cost, it is impossible to continue to produce”, explains on France info José-Luis Llacuna who has decided to put production at his factory located in Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin in Loiret on hold for a “minimum” four months. As a result, a large part of the 250 employees of the company will be put on partial unemployment from November 1.

Same problem and same consequences for the steel industry, a sector that also consumes a lot of energy. On August 31, the Ascometal group, a manufacturer of special steels distributed worldwide, announced two production interruptions of three weeks each, one in November and the other in December, in Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches -du-Rhône) and Hagondange (Moselle). For the Fos plant alone, the annual cost of electricity would increase from 7 million euros this year to 80 million euros in 2023. The group therefore decided to put some of the group’s 1,200 employees, without count the 300 subcontractors, on partial unemployment.

Forced recourse to partial unemployment

In Pas-de-Calais, the crystal factory of Arques started partial unemployment on September 1 for its 1,600 employees, two days a week, until the end of the year. Here too, soaring energy prices are to blame. “Between 2021 and 2022, the gas bill for Arc France goes from 19 million to 75 million, it’s an additional 56 million”, details with France 3 Guillaume Rabel-Suquet, communication director of Arc France.

These sectors may not be the only ones affected. Ski resorts, whose activity requires a lot of energy, are worried about seeing their bills soar, and are asking for state aid. In Isère, Chamrousse will still close ski lifts this winter and reduce the speed of these devices in low season. The management of the station does not know if it will be able to open its ice rink or not, reports The Dauphineenough to weigh on jobs at the local level.

The CFDT requests partial unemployment covered at 100%

Faced with this situation, and the multiplication of recourse to partial unemployment, Laurent Berger is calling for aid similar to that put in place during the restrictions against the Covid for companies. “We will have to reactivate the support systems for workers, particularly in terms of partial unemployment and partial unemployment covered at 100%, because they are in no way responsible for the situation”, launched the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger on France info this Friday.

Because in the event of partial unemployment of an employee, excluding Covid, “the employer must pay the employee an indemnity corresponding to 60% of his gross salary per hour not worked, i.e. approximately 72% of the net hourly wage. An indemnity cannot be less than 8.76 €, nor be greater than a ceiling of 29.89 € per hour not worked, recalls the site public service. Laurent Berger wishes that in the event of partial unemployment due to energy costs, the employee is compensated 100% by the employer, who would see this aid financed by the State.

Abroad, factories shut down

France is not the only one affected by the forced cessation of certain activities. Nyrstar, one of the world’s leading foundries, owned by the Swiss trader Trafigura, announced in mid-August the “forced maintenance” of its zinc plant in Budel in the Netherlands from this Thursday, September 1.

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