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France's government pushes Alstom to maintain train making

Associated Press Associated Press 12/09/2016
FILE - This Wednesday, April 30, 2014 file photo shows the company logo of Alstom at the headquarters of the leading global maker of high-speed trains, power plants and grids, in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris, France. France’s Socialist government vows to maintain the train making site of rail giant Alstom in the country despite the company’s decision to end its production. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Wednesday, April 30, 2014 file photo shows the company logo of Alstom at the headquarters of the leading global maker of high-speed trains, power plants and grids, in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris, France. France’s Socialist government vows to maintain the train making site of rail giant Alstom in the country despite the company’s decision to end its production. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

PARIS — France's Socialist government is vowing to maintain the train-making site of rail giant Alstom in the country despite the company's decision to end production.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Monday that the government will work with local officials, Alstom's management and potential clients about ensuring the workload so that the railway production "will be able to be maintained" in the eastern French city of Belfort.

The government criticized the company's decision — announced to Belfort workers last week — to end production and denounced the lack of consultation.

The French state has a 20 percent stake in Alstom.

The closure of the plant would lead to 400 job cuts in Belfort and employees redeployed to other sites in the country.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, speaking on Europe 1 radio, said Sunday that "every day, we are fighting for Alstom to win new contracts, notably on international and European markets."

Alstom's decision comes just a month after winning a major contract in the United States, building new Amtrak trains in New York for the Boston-Washington. The company recently won other contracts in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

Alstom's situation is considered by many French politicians as symbolic of France's difficulty of keeping a strong industry at home.

Last year, U.S. energy giant General Electric made a $14.1 billion takeover of Alstom's power and transmission division.

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