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Factory fire in Tunisia shows lack of safety measures

24 August, 2021A fire in Valeo car component factory, employing more than 1,500 workers, on 10 August, ruined the entire plant. But thanks to union intervention, half of the workforce is already back at work.  

Although there were no casualties, the fire highlights the lack of safety measures and security at the worksite. The fire quickly escalated and spread to the whole factory, indicating an absence of a firefighting system and protective equipment, as well as a lack of early warning devices.

Since the fire, the factory has resumed partial activity at another site and around 700 workers have been able to go back to work.

Tahar Berberi, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate Fédération Générale de la Métallurgie et de l'Electronique, FGME-UGTT, says:

“The Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) played an important role in the process as the general secretary Noureddine Taboubi met with a delegation representing Valeo’s mother company. During the meeting, management committed to pay wages and transfer workers to a temporary worksite until the factory has been rebuilt. UGTT committed to support the resumed activity and accelerate some of the procedures.”

The fire is believed to have started in an adjacent factory and spread to the Valeo after a palm tree caught fire.