Meccano plant slated for closure by 2024

Pointing to the “lack of competitiveness of the site”, the group indicated in a press release that it had “no other choice but to consider stopping the industrial activities of the Calais plant by the first quarter. 2024″. The plant “has never managed to reach a financial balance”, while “facing difficult market conditions, aggravated by the recent spike in raw material and energy costs”, adds Spin Master . The group recalls having invested “7 million euros since 2014”, without however managing “to rectify the situation in the long term”.

“Provide individual support” to each employee concerned

The objective “is now to provide individual support to each of the 50 employees concerned” and the management “will soon enter into negotiations with the social partners to define the terms of a job protection plan (PSE)”. “This announcement is very brutal, it is a historic factory”, denounced to AFP the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, castigating “methods not at all correct”. The local management “taught us this morning, we had never been alerted before about problems concerning the activity”.

“This group made 55 million in turnover in France in 2021, 2 billion dollars worldwide. It has the means to bear the additional energy costs”, and “we wonder” about its “real motivations,” said Ms. Bouchart. “Perhaps the group is trying to recover the license to manufacture in Mexico. Or else it wants to favor another of its licenses,” suggested the mayor. An appointment will be “quickly fixed” with the state services to study “the possibilities of appealing to a buyer”, she promised.

“The staff is completely dejected”

“The staff is completely dejected. We did not expect it”, reacted to AFP Jean-François Sandras, CGT delegate at Meccano, and employee since 1984. “We knew that there were difficulties in particular on the energy, but in no case were we thinking of a permanent closure”. “We are still part of a large group, which makes huge profits. We were told + for three, four years, we are recovering +, and then all of a sudden, the management says that they inject money and it doesn’t work”, he lamented.

Established in Calais since 1959 and acquired in 2014 by Spin Master, the Calais factory is “the only toy production site” belonging to the Canadian group, a management spokesperson told AFP. Spin Master also has Meccano toys and other brands produced by “a network of partners”, located “in Europe, Asia and Latin America”. In addition to the Meccano, the Calais site produces a “magic sand” to model, called “Kinetic Sand”. In total, “2.5 million boxes” of these two brands leave the factory each year, according to this spokesperson.

A brand marketed since 1907

The Meccano brand, marketed since 1907 – from toys designed in Liverpool by Briton Franck Hornby – “will remain owned by Spin Master and will be redesigned” with a view to being “revitalized”, he added. The Kinetic Sand will continue to be produced by partners.

The management informed the staff and employee representatives during the day. On March 2, it will open the legal procedure providing for two months of negotiations with the social partners, before the examination of the PSE project by the labor administration. Spin Master ensures to remain “open to all proposals that a possible buyer could make for the site”.

The Canadian group also develops mobile applications and cartoons, including the popular “Pat’Patrouille”, with a total of 2,310 employees in 27 countries. “It’s a shock for the people of Calais. Meccano is Calais and Calais is Meccano”, reacted to AFP the deputy LR of Pas-de-Calais Pierre-Henri Dumont, castigating an “intolerable decision” and calling for “finding solutions to maintain this activity in Calais”.