Renault Algeria” … An expected End To An Investment Project With Political Backgrounds!

August 17, 2020

A “big” project for French investment in Algeria is declared a failure; it is “Renault Algeria”. After only six years from the start of activity, this project, which was launched amid a major media and diplomatic clamor, is heading towards a gradual halt.

The “Renault Algeria” Foundation decided to lay off between 400 and 800 workers out of a total of one thousand and 200 workers, who make up the number of the work team working at the level of the car assembling factory in Wadi Tlilat area near Oran (western Algeria), and the reason is the woeful difficulties it suffers from.

The factory administrators have given two-thirds of the work team a choice between “voluntary departure” or the activation of the legal procedures specified for forced layoffs in Algerian law, in anticipation of the next stage, which is expected to come into force on September 1st.

“Algeria Renault” had expressed its tendency to reduce its workers by two-thirds, last July 23, and offered permanent workers “voluntary departure” in exchange for the equivalent of a month and a half wages for each year of work, or forced to go to “economic lay-off”. The workers confronted this strongly, and stipulated that the officials enter into dialogue in order to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties.

However, last Thursday, the Corporation returned to confirm that it is moving forward with its project of layoffs, a trend that the company hinted at about six months ago, when it announced last February that its factory would be closed indefinitely, citing what was known as the “ASKD” and “CCD” case. Today, it is waiting for the government’s book of conditions for car assembling and manufacturing.

The “Renault Algeria” plant, which came into being on November 10, 2014, is the fruit of a French investment project according to the 49/51 rule, in which Algeria controls the largest percentage, distributed between the National Industrial Vehicles Corporation by 34 percent and 17 percent by the National Investment Fund, while it controls “Renault” is the remaining 49 percent.

The factory sits on an area of 151 hectares, and was inaugurated in a spectacle attended on the Algerian side, by the now imprisoned former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sallal, the fugitive former Minister of Industry and Mines, Abdeslem Bouchouareb, and on the other side, the former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron (the current president), and the former Minister of Foreign affairs Laurent Fabius, in the presence of the former president and general manager of the “Renault” complex, Carlos Ghosn, who is also a fugitive from Japanese justice.

Before closing the doors of its factory temporarily, the company was producing three brands of “Renault”: “Symbol”, “Clio 4” and “Dacia Sandero StepWay”, and it celebrated on September 12 of 2017 the arrival of the number of cars it produced that is up to 100 thousand cars.

What “Algeria Renault” has been experiencing for months was expected given its “Caesarean” birth. The project was not economical in the literal sense of the word, but rather was a “political” project for the regime of the former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

It has become evident among observers and public opinion that Algeria during the era of Bouteflika was an exclusive area of influence for the French side, which obtained financial, political and cultural privileges, which he had never dreamed of even in the African banana states, and yet it did not implement a successful investment project that could hold water. It directed the “Bouteflika regime” to fall into the arms of Paris.

According to those familiar with this file, the Wadi Tlilat factory would not have been accomplished without the insistence of the Algerian negotiator, who was greatly disturbed by the French giant’s establishment of a large factory for it in Tangiers, Morocco, despite the fact that what Renault was selling in Algeria of its cars was many times greater than what it was selling in Morocco, and that is why the French response came cold and with shameful conditions, because the Algerian negotiator was looking for an achievement to confront local public opinion, even if this project was illusory … and here is the dismal result.

The former French Foreign Minister at the time, Laurent Fabius, confirmed in a press conference in Algeria that the Oran factory would not sell its product outside Algeria, unlike the Moroccan factory, under the pretext that this would affect the workforce in France (…), in addition to the percentage of integration that did not, according to specialists, exceed seven percent, despite the fact that the book of conditions talks about fifty percent within five years of activity, and all this is considered an insult to the Algerians.




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