The remarkable upturn in the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire, which a few years ago went through a major crisis leading to massive lay-offs, is now generating a demand for labour that is hard to satisfy while keeping control of wage costs so as not to compromise the hard-won return to competitiveness.
Arnaud du Crest has been to interview for Futuribles Claire Guihéneuf, who is in charge of monitoring for the local economic development agency for the region of Saint-Nazaire, and Catherine Guilbaudeau, head of the National Employment Agency (ANPE), about the policies adopted by the shipyards both for their own recruitment needs and to make use of a network of appropriate subcontractors and suppliers.
What emerges is the key role of the firm and its image, as well as its capacity to undertake a major training programme, with the help of the national and regional authorities. Success does, however, have its downside: the suppliers have much greater difficulties than the shipyards in finding skilled workers, and there is also a shortage of adequate accommodation for those newly hired. Housing therefore will need to be built, but the construction industry is having problems in keeping up with the demand (see the account by Gabriel David elsewhere in this issue).