Why is GE cutting 1,000 jobs in Belfort?
Losses in the gas turbine sector have led General Electric to announce it will axe some 1,000 jobs at its Belfort plant in eastern France. The US technology firm took over the energy division of the French Alstom group in 2014 and promised to create hundreds of new jobs in Belfort. Commentators blame the French government for the job losses, on several fronts.
Switch to renewables means fewer jobs
Belfort employees are victims of the state-sponsored energy transition, Contrepoints rails:
“It's the same deal in all countries and for all companies that subsidise renewable energy. They are all sitting on unsold turbines. Siemens and Mitsubishi are stuck in the same bind. ... GE is streamlining its activities, focusing more on the aviation industry and less on crisis-plagued sectors like gas turbines. ... From the various estimates in reports from [the environmental authority] ADEME, the Ministry of the Environment or the [investment bank] Natixis, it's hard to determine how many new jobs the energy transformation would create: 100,000? 900,000? As many as 18 million? Or as few as none? One thing is sure: in Belfort, there are now 1,000 fewer jobs.”
Neoliberal state means disaster
The French state has failed in its duty to secure jobs and should never have approved the sale of the energy division to the US company, economist Jean-Charles Hourcade rails in Le Figaro:
“Now it's becoming clear what a disaster the greed of French capitalism has triggered, always favoring industrial strategies that promise short-term financial gains. The French oligarchy succumbed to the sirens of the markets and the financial analysts. ... The state has submitted to the neoliberal ideology, giving deregulation and 'free and undistorted competition' priority and protesting like [the former socialist prime minister] Lionel Jospin once did: 'The state can't do everything.' With this stance the state has encouraged this suicidal trend in France.”