Former Lejaby Workers Call for Financing

Les Atelières, a cooperative company, could be forced into bankruptcy.

PARIS — Les Atelières, an association of ex-Lejaby lingerie workers who set up their own plant in late 2012, will be forced into bankruptcy before the end of March if it does not receive 800,000 euros, or $1.1 million at current exchange, in funding.
The cooperative company (Société Coopérative d’Intérêt Collectif, or SCIC, which translates as community-oriented cooperative enterprise), which specialized in small orders of high-end corsetry, had received promises of funding from the state as well as support — and orders — from an industry keen to support French manufacturing.
The firm did not get the necessary backing from banks, which did not consider the initiative as potentially profitable, a spokeswoman for Les Atelières explained.
The company will go before a commercial court on Friday, after which its assets could be sold off and employees laid off within 10 days, she said, if there is no concrete promise of funding before then.
“We have plenty of orders,” she said. “A new one arrived just this morning.”
Maison Lejaby, which despite laying off workers after its takeover by a consortium led by Alain Prost in January 2012, had been one of Les Atelières key customers, issued a statement in support of the cooperative.
“[Maison Lejaby] will lose a precious partner, anchored in a ‘made in France’ industrial strategy with the will to promote exceptional French savoir-faire,” the firm stated.
“Although Maison Lejaby has no capital relationship with Les Atelières, it has nevertheless supported it via the loan of material, technical assistance and regular orders.”
“We are calling on the government to tell us if there is a future for textile manufacturing in France, that is what is at stake, and we cannot move forwards without the support of the banks,” the spokeswoman for Les Atelières continued.