Flix seeks new industries for the land of the chemical complex
January 1, 2023 is a key date in the history of Flix. After 125 years, there will be no more activity in the chemical complex of the population. From then on, it will be necessary to reinvent yourself. And it is that the economic and social life of the municipality has been linked throughout the 20th century and what we carry from the 11th to the evolution of the "factory". As the Diari advanced, Ercros has informed the workers of the closure of the phosphate line, the last one remaining in production, and the beginning of a collective dismissal file for the 50 direct workers.
In the municipality, the hundred workers of the subcontracted and auxiliary companies of the plant, which are now also forced to close, are even more concerned, "and who do not have the umbrella of a large company with great benefits like Ercros," says the mayor. of the population, Francesc Barbero.
The City Council has issued a statement in which it shows all the support and solidarity with those affected. "After holding meetings with the committees of the affected companies, we will ensure that the economic and working conditions of all workers are fair." To this end, the municipal government has maintained the first contacts with the Department of Business and Labor of the Government of Catalonia "to monitor the proposed ERE and those that may arise."
From the Flixan Consistory they also urge the companies Ercros, Covestro and the French company Phosphea to "explore alternatives to extend the production of dicalcium phosphate in Flix"; and they recall that work continues on the reindustrialization project "to generate new jobs in Flix."
Tomorrow, Monday, a plenary session has been called at the City Council, in which an institutional declaration is also expected to be approved.
"The closure is not a big surprise, because we were aware of the weakness of the factory's production scheme in recent times, but we hoped that activity could continue for a few years," says Barbero, who acknowledges that the spirits in the municipality " they are touched."
Since Ercros closed the chlorine production line in 2017, the City Council, the company and the Generalitat have been working on a reindustrialization plan. New companies are sought that want to settle in the complex, which occupies about 20 hectares next to the Ebro river reservoir.
Apart from the Ercros facilities, some of which have had to undergo a soil decontamination process, there is also a 13,000-square-meter warehouse in the complex that was built by the state company Acuamed for decontamination work on the swamp (a project nearing completion, with all the toxic sludge already extracted from the bottom of the reservoir). There have been companies interested in setting up, but so far none of the projects on the table have come to fruition.
From now on, new perspectives are also opening up, based on the Nuclear Transition Fund. A fund of 24 million euros per year, operational as of this coming 2023, to promote new sectors and economic activities in the areas around the nuclear reactors, with a view to their closure in the horizon of about ten years.
One of the intangibles that Flix has in its favor to attract new companies is the undeniable tradition of an industrial municipality, accustomed to coexisting with complex facilities and an expert workforce in the sector.
The evolution of the town, linked to that of the factory
In 1897 the chemical complex was born (then as Flix Electrochemistry), with German capital and technology. The factory was the target of the bombs during the Civil War and during the sixties of the last century it experienced the moments of maximum activity, in which a thousand people worked. The beginning of the decline starts with the crisis of 1993 and since then it has experienced a slow decline, until today. In 2017, the chlorine production line was closed, which affects some 300 workers, and now the phosphate line will close, at the end of December 31 and two contracts are not renewed, one for the supply of hydrochloric acid and one for exclusive manufacturing for a dicalcium phosphate client, as detailed by Ercros.
The growth of the population has been tied these last 125 years to the future of the factory. Thus, in the 1990s, when the industry had 700 workers, 5,000 people lived in the municipality. Now that the factory closes, the register is 3,500 inhabitants.