Steel Heart

 

About Steel Industry in LorraineMemory of o Steel Worker

  • 1704: the de Wendel family leaves Bruges and settled in Lorraine;
  • 1727: the de Wendel family makes a fortune selling cannonballs to Louis XV (they continue with Bonaparte);
  •  Nineteenth century : masters forges increase their fortune with railroad;
  • 1870 War : part of the de Wendel family becomes of German nationality in order to retain the forges in the Moselle annexed by Germany;
  • 14-18: the family continues to get richer … by selling weapons to both sides.
  • After the war of 39-45 the State financially supports the modernization of the Lorraine steel industry;
  • 1950: The working week is 62 hours in the steel industry (44 hours in 1938);
  •  From the 60’s, plans layoffs succeed for the Lorraine steel industry
  • 1971: the French state finances a large part of the new plant in Fos-sur-Mer (14 billion Francs)
  • 1978 the steel’s debts are transformed into equity participation, the community pays for the closure of factories.
  • etc …

Today in Longwy there is nothing, or almost, that is reminiscent of the industrial past of the region. The working class, overexploited but proud of his knowledge, has almost disappeared, with its codes and its particular ethic. Today, the north of Lorraine is an economically depressed area with an unemployment rate close to 17% (INSEE 2011) …

… And only the elders still have the memory of a glorious past.

 

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