En Alsace, l’allemand Dräger met son site de production de masques en sommeil

En Alsace, l’allemand Dräger met son site de production de masques en sommeil

Barely a year after being rewarded by the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, with a Choose France prize for his investment “express” in Alsace, it is with just as much speed that the German company Dräger has just proceeded, Thursday, May 19, to the dismissal of the staff of its production site of FFP2 and FFP3 masks in Obernai (Bas-Rhin). Of the thirty employees still employed by the factory, only two administrative agents and two maintenance technicians will remain in place to ensure the maintenance of the site.

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Dräger rules out a total shutdown for the time being. “The fall in demand, which we hope will be as temporary as possible, in no way shakes our determination to make our industrial project in Obernai a long-term one. We are taking the necessary measures to restart production qualitatively, according to the evolution of the workload, respiratory protection being at the heart of our know-how”said the industrialist.

“We felt the wind turn from the end of 2021”

It only took a few weeks for the Lübeck firm (Schleswig-Holstein) to install, in the fall of 2020, its 13 mask production lines, in a former sports hangar brought up to standard for the occasion. Dräger intended to produce up to 100 million masks there per year, intended for the health sector – with, as a result, a large order from Public Health France –, but also for industry. The site was able to count, in fact, up to 140 jobs.

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But the gradual lifting of health restrictions in Europe has considerably reduced demand, in a market marked by the explosion in the number of producers. The efforts of resourcing European orders, both public and private, have also turned out to be more complicated than expected, including for the most technical products such as FFP2 and FFP3 masks. Consequently, after having initially seen its production rates reduced, the Obernai site ended up being put into partial operation at the beginning of the year. Employees were either loaned out to other companies or asked to stay at home. The manufacturer now claims to want to offer them “the best support possible”.

“We felt the wind turn from the end of 2021”says the mayor (Les Républicains) of Obernai, Bernard Fischer, who says he understands that Dräger “had no other choice”. Himself a doctor of pharmacy and engaged in the economy commission of the Grand Est region recognizes that“When it comes to relocation, it is difficult to go from the will to the realization”. Before concluding, reassuringly: “Today, there are 500 unfilled industrial jobs in the Obernai-Molsheim economic area. A number of Dräger employees have already found work. »

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