The site where the shantytown is located in Calais does not just include only the slum itself, but also two structures set up by the state and managed by an operator association ; La Vie Active: That is the Jules Ferry centre, which provides daily services accommodation for women and children (400 places). It was also planned to open a hostel of 72 places for unaccompanied minors. And the container camp, which was installed on part of the shantytown that was destroyed, and home to 1,500 people.
So the shantytown where living conditions are very precarious,but where the social life of a small town was organized, was juxtaposed with the Jules Ferry centre which provides access to some basic services for a limited number of the inhabitants (meals, showers, electricity, medical surgery, legal information), and two semi-enclosed housing structures, where autonomy is limited and freedom of going and coming controlled, for which the shantytown offers the inhabitants a social life space.
To everyone’s surprise, the government announced its intention not only to destroy the slum, but also to close the structures put in place, Jules Ferry centre and the container camp in a sort of scorched earth logic, as if there would be no Exiles in Calais when these structures cease to exist, as if people come from Afghanistan to Calais to take a shower at the La Vie Active.
If these two structures set up by the state are criticable in their organization, they do however show nonetheless that welcoming Exiles creates jobs, in this case the 140 people on permanent contracts at La Vie Active, sixty jobs among different providers, as well as those on temporary contracts. On the scale of Calais, removing 200 jobs will add to an already difficult social situation.
In the context, the union SUD Santé Social last week sent an open letter to the President of the Republic.
You can download the open letter here
” Open letter to Mr Hollande
President of the Republic
The Union SUD Santé Social calls on Mr Hollande President of the Republic following his statements through the media during his visit to Calais September 26th, 2016.
Our elected representatives have just been written to by email and also by registered mail to our branch through the intermediary of Mr Alexander from our management about the possibility of a total closure of the Calais site. Which will include the dismissal of 140 permanent employees from the association la Vie Active, as well as other jobs providers : security / food provision … .which will hit a pool of employment concerning 200 people.
Has M President of the Republic measured the consequences of this announcement?
Have you measured, Mr President, the impact of redundancies in a region hard hit economically?
Using the migration issue for electoral purposes does not fool any citizen !
SUD denounces the instrumentalisation of human misery in this pre-presidential campaign.
The SUD trade union will be alongside the association la Vie Active, site manager for the safeguard of jobs and support for migrants, hosted in different poles (mothers / children, day care, temporary container shelters ).
We are aware of the state of isolation and precarity of those admitted on our soil. The regularization of this situation lies with the State and cannot leave in its wake 140 workers.
We want an alternative project that is capable of hosting people in conditions that respect the dignity of migrants in partnership with existing associations in the field and that would allow to secure jobs, and see the establishment of others in an area which has such need.
The urgency of the situation leads us to demand a quick response from the government on the future status of employees.
Le Syndicat SUD santé sociaux Vie Active » ”