Fiber: Carole Delga urges the State to act to save Scopelec, the first French cooperative group

Fiber: Carole Delga urges the State to act to save Scopelec, the first French cooperative group

What will become of the first French cooperative group? Scopelec, a cooperative and participatory company that subcontracts to the operator Orange for fiber optic networks, was declared bankrupt by the administrative court of Lyon on September 26. The companies that are candidates for the partial or total takeover of their activities have until next Wednesday to appear before the court. Four days before this decisive deadline, Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie region, where the company has been located since 1973, calls on the State to act. In a document dated this Saturday, October 29, the elected socialist “asks the state to reconsider its commitment to Scopelec.”

The suspension of payments of Scopelec, Orange’s historical subcontractor, has follows the reduction of market volumes by the operator. This decision sank the 1Ahem cooperative group in France and all the members employed in the anguish of seeing the group collapse, their jobs disappear and their savings as co-members evaporate. I renew my full support to the employees. againstlike i’ve been doing from the start, I will continue to defend your project. recovery in SPOLICEMAN. I regret that the State, although a shareholder of Orange, Nome respectand no sthey are commitments of do advance discussions“, she writes.

End of the contract with Orange

Headquartered in the Tarn, the company Scopelec is, as its name indicates, a cooperative and participatory company (Scop), that is, its workers hold the capital (in this case 74.8%) and the decision-making power. It was created in 1973, the heyday of worker cooperatives, in Revel (Haute-Garonne).

Scopelec ensured for Orange the laying of the optical fiber and the maintenance of the copper network. An activity that represented 40% of its turnover, estimated at 475 million euros in 2021. But the subcontracting contract of the incumbent telecommunications operator came to an end at the end of March. This is how Scopelec has risked his survival since Orange’s announcement of the loss of most of this market, in November 2021.

According to Scopelec, the operator is responsible for the failure of the backup procedure by refusing “support the company up to the 20 million euros still promised”. Asked by AFP, Orange replied that this “debt waiver” was conditioned on the presentation of a “viable and sustainable backup plan” while Scopelec is not yet, according to them, able to secure the activity under the new contract started in April.

Support from the Occitanie region

After months of negotiations under the Interministerial Committee for Industrial Restructuring (Ciri), Scopelec had rejected an Orange proposal that it considered insufficient. There have already been more than 1,000 voluntary departures since the start of the crisis at the end of 2021 for this group of 3,600 employees.

“The Occitanie region is also ready to join the acquisition project led by Carlos Verkaeren [nommé le 9 septembre dernier comme président du directoire de l’entreprise. Il est l’ancien PDG de la biscuiterie toulousaine Poult. Il espère redresser Scopelec et  diversifier ses activités, ndlr]. Our support will take the form of taking shares in the capital of this new company and in supporting the partner-employees with zero-rate honorific loans. so they can re-invest”writes the president of the Occitania region.

“Today I call on the State to assume its responsibilities so that a solution is found before November 2, the deadline for submitting offers to take over Scopelec. This project for a new SCOP will undoubtedly be the most protective project in terms of taking on former employees. »concludes.

(with AFP)