The departmental managers of Medef, U2P and CPME sound the alarm about the situation of the economic fabric of Aude: between the energy explosion, the explosion and speculation around raw materials, fears about taxation and contracting difficulties , Aude entrepreneurs fear that companies will pay the final bill.
too short a recovery
Is with “growth prospects” authorized for the improvement of the health situation that the Aude companies had started in 2022. “And then came the war in Ukraine”Christophe Bourguet, Vice President of the Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (CPME), summarizes: “Companies in Aude that were beginning to glimpse a real and concrete recovery are once again experiencing major disruptions.” And mention the construction, industry, commerce, hospitality, services, transport of people and goods, as if to demonstrate that no sector is spared. An international event that weakens an economic fabric in distress due to the prices of raw materials and energy: “Despite the effort made for several years for reasoned consumption, bills skyrocket”Christophe Bourguet continues.
An observation illustrated by Gilbert Campana, president of the union of local employers (U2P), evoking his electricity bill that, “in one month, it increased by 40%, despite stable consumption, reaching €3,200”. Loads that accumulate, and a context that deteriorates: “We had the announced growth, but we are far from the expected perspectives, regrets Joël Rigail, president of Medef de l’Aude. And if we add the interest rates of the banks that begin to rise, all this means that companies invest less. And investment is what creates jobs.”
The post-Covid recovery had had its perverse effects, with the scarcity of raw materials and the increase in their cost. A phenomenon that the war in Ukraine will aggravate, the heads of the employers’ unions point out, referring to the outbreak. “wood, tiles, tiles, iron” linked in particular to the limitation of the activity of the production companies themselves, painfully affected by the cost of energy.
But this is also another factor that U2P’s Gilbert Campana wanted to point out: “Wood, there is, the stocks are there. But between the production and the final product, there are intermediaries. Who play at limiting quantities to raise prices”. And to give another example to illustrate the toll imposed on companies. “On 15mm OSB wood panels, we went from €5 a sheet to €10. Same thing for 25mm panels, we went from €8 to €13 or €14.” Suffered bills, which force companies to “Cut our margins. But there are limits.” And remember that “Cutting margins also means stopping investing. We’re dragging activity down, and yet that’s what makes the economy work.”
in need of manpower
The overview of the economic situation would not be complete without the hiring difficulties highlighted by Olivier Assié, Vice President of U2P. A finding to which he links “Post-Covid shock: all sectors have difficulty hiring, in skilled trades, but also in low-skilled positions. Health, transport, hotels, commerce, these trades have limitations, with night or weekend work, which nobody seems want more. And on this issue, which was never discussed during the presidential campaign, Ukraine has nothing to do. ” That lack of attractiveness, Gilbert Campana perceives well in the building. With regret, because the employer remains convinced that, in terms of income or working conditions, “I have the feeling that things have improved. But obviously we have to adapt”. And warns: “For companies, the breaking point is easy to define: it is when the selling price is not enough to cover production costs. But if we increase our wages and therefore our selling prices, of course the purchasing power will be affected.
The call to solidarity
Energy and raw materials on the rise, contracting difficulties, interest rates on the rise… So many factors of uncertainty for companies “which have no visibility, and have been sailing on sight for two years”Christophe Bourguet laments. What to appeal to reason, to avoid a fatal blow: “This may not be the time for the taxation of our companies to be affected by decisions that lack consistency.” A reference for the property tax for companies voted by the municipalities and interco this spring. “The rental values are being discussed, on which the CFE is indexed. Although we know that communities need resources, this must remain reasoned and reasonable. Because companies cannot be the ‘adjustment’ variable.