The war takes a heavy toll on the economy of the Charente.

There are serious concerns among both management and employees.

In Saint-Michel, Maxime Thiollet, head of the paper mills, makes no secret of his concern. “Transport has increased, insurance has also increased, we will have to raise wages to keep up with inflation … It’s simple, all costs are rising.” On a paper whose prices are re-indexed every month, he more or less manages to get through the increase. But in his cardboard factory in Chateaubernard, with a hundred workers, it’s not the same song anymore. “Contracts with customers are concluded for six months, while the price of paper is growing, we have moved from 450 euros per ton to 1,000 euros in a year and a half, and some paper will still cost 150 euros on April 1. So, I take my pilgrimage stick and I’m going to see all my clients to try and adjust the length of the contracts. In 32 years in business, I’ve never done that.” he assures.

“Industry, construction, food… There is no sector that has not been affected”says Véronique Brouillet, director of the Charente Patronal Union. “Costs have increased 3 times, 4 times, 5 times, we are afraid of a shortage of metals, butter, margarine… Wholesalers tell me that even barbecue chicken and sunflower oil can no longer be bought on world markets.” She, who constantly examines the economic fabric of the Charente, has described “great anxiety, both for bosses and employees. »

Some have to cut or even give up their margins. This is the case with Seemi à la Couronne, a manufacturer of handling and palletizing systems for an industry where the prices of all steel grades, in particular laser cut sheets, are skyrocketing. While the company today produces under contracts signed in October last year, and under which it does not “can’t get past the price increase”worries manager François-Xavier Vinier, also president of IUMM, the union of industry and trade in the metal industry of Charente, who fears that it will grow into a deficit announced at the end of April – beginning of May. “We always have 15 days, three weeks to cut, but at the beginning of summer it can be more difficult if we have more line material.”

“The worst thing is the lack of visibility”

At Caravi, a utility-to-shop or medical vehicle conversion company that employs 23 people in Roulle-Saint-Estephe, the deadlines for receiving vehicles from manufacturers have expired. “from 2, 3 months to 18 months for some brands”, says Jérôme Cao, a boss who fears a shortage of tires, semiconductors… “Aluminum, wood, steel, electricity, gas to heat the paint booths… Loads are blazing from all sides. We try to store, but it sucks in money. At the same time, we just need one of the 200 or 300 components of the car to be missing and we can’t deliver or pay.”

A vice that is difficult to deal with in a building. “We work almost for free, even at a loss, on some files,” describes Sébastien Gapin, leader of the Maison tradition and president of the UCA, the union of builders and developers of the Charente. “Brick, tile, steel, prices are skyrocketing and contracts with customers signed a few months ago.” So manufacturers extend the terms of new contracts, “It takes an average of 12 to 14 months for a home, compared to 9 months previously.” And juggle supplies.

Everyone agrees on one thing, the worst in this new crisis that comes crashing down like a second blade after covid. “it’s a lack of visibility.”

Open Crisis Chamber

The Charente Employers’ Union and IUMM, the trades union for the metalworking professions, have opened a crisis department since the end of last week, dedicated to the economic consequences of the war. “If entrepreneurs encounter difficulties, especially with supplies, they can tell us and we will report this information to the national level,” says François-Xavier Viñeras, President of IUMM Charente. Because the sustainability plan announced on Wednesday, if at the moment it is more than timid and insufficient in relation to the scale of the consequences, can be adapted, adjusted, as it was just for the transport sector. Feel free to contact us on 05 45 95 15 51. »

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