“We are a little on the buttocks”, in Calais, the shock after the closure of the Meccano factory

Lionel Gougelot (in Calais), edited by Romain Rouillard

Meccano, the manufacturer of construction toys, is preparing to close its one and only factory in France, located in Calais. A decision that had the effect of a cold shower for employees who will now have to negotiate their redundancy plan. For her part, the mayor of Calais sees it as a disguised relocation.

At the change of position at midday, the employees of the Meccano factory in Calais have their faces closed. And for good reason, the famous manufacturer of construction toys, is preparing to close the site in northern France, created in 1959. The only one established on French territory. Its owner, the Canadian group Speedmaster, plans to stop operations by the first quarter of 2024.

This Thursday, the fifty employees therefore found their way back to the factory in a heavy atmosphere, the day after the brutal announcement. “We’re a little on our ass because we expected something to happen, but from there they closed the factory completely… I admit it’s a bit shocking for a lot of us. We also think about our family, the children we have to feed all this. We wonder a little how it will happen and we are really waiting”, confides Giovanni who does not manage still not considering closing the site.

“I find it frankly scandalous”

In a press release, the group is content to indicate that the 7 million euros invested in the site since 2014 have not been enough to rectify the financial situation. The managers mentioned at the end of last year the additional costs linked to the increase in raw materials and energy. The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, suspects a relocation that does not say its name.

“I rather have the impression that they are trying to divert a license to either go manufacture in another country, or want to close the Meccano license to favor the other licenses they have in their possession because they have several We don’t have to dismantle a work tool, I find that frankly scandalous”, grumbled the city councilor.

For the 50 employees, negotiations for a redundancy plan will begin in early March. At the same time, the search for a possible buyer for the site. But whatever happens, the Meccano brand will definitely disappear from Calais at the end of the year.