Patrimony. Job, this factory in Toulouse which has become a cultural space conquered by a fierce struggle
Through Lucie Fraissé
From 1uh on October 3, 2021, the Job space, located in the heart of Seven denarii, a Toulouse, celebrates a double anniversary. Twenty years ago the factory employees and the inhabitants of the district fought to preserve the places and transform them into cultural space. A fight that lasted ten years, until the opening of the premises, in October 2011.
We made cigarette paper and luxury paper there
François Coulomb has lived in Les Sept deniers for thirty years. Member of the neighborhood committee (one of the associations that make up the Job collective) and amateur historian, he looked at the past of this old factory and this huge art deco-inspired building, designed by the architect Pierre Thuriès, and built in the 1930s.
“The Seven Deniers factory was part of a family group, located in the South-West. We worked on paper: first cigarette paper and then luxury paper. She counted up to 450 employees at the peak of its activity. “
Acquired by the Bolloré family
The decline of the Job factory began in the 1980s. Bolloré family, the Sept deniers factory and all those of the Job group were first bought by the Breton group in 1986, which in turn sold part of the capital to a Dutch group. The plant is then sold for a symbolic franc to a holding company and ends up in a competing German group.
“From 1995, the Job factory will lose a hundred years of employees three times. Before its closure in the years 2000-2001, there were only 160 to 170 people working in the factory. “
The district mobilized around its factory
This closure and the social plans that preceded it were not carried out without a fight. “It was a very unionized factory, the CGT was very active there. There were roadblocks, demonstrations, intrusions on the Capitol… ”, explains François Coulomb.
And the district of Seven deniers is mobilizing alongside the “Jobs” who are fighting to save their working tool. “Job’s first owners were very paternalistic and had built housing in the neighborhood. In 1960, 20% of the factory workers lived in the neighborhood. And then the factory kept the local businesses alive! “
The closed factory, the mobilization for the opening of a cultural and citizen space
A mobilization between workers and residents of the district that will last beyond the closure of the Job factory.
“Pretty quickly, the site is going to be sold to four different promoters. But demonstrations will be organized to save the flagship of the Job factory. To obtain the establishment of cultural and sporting services in a district which was lacking at the time and also not to enter completely into the history of the factory. “
Same methods as during the union struggle
And to fight the appetite of real estate developers, the Jobs and the inhabitants of the neighborhood use the same methods as those used in the union struggle, with a mixture of punching actions and festive and musical demonstrations (the Zebda group has to the time supported the project).
“History repeated itself, we reused the same recipes. It was a completely peaceful movement that could lead radical actions. And with great energy and very concrete development proposals for the Job building.”
Ten years for the project to wonder
But the mobilized of the Seven Deniers then face a rather wait-and-see municipality. “Especially since the aesthetic interest of the building was not recognized until very late”, regrets François Coulomb.
Finally, thanks to the tenacity of the inhabitants of the district, whose support for the project has strengthened over time and the holding of numerous events, the flagship building is bought by the town hall in 2004. It was not until 2009 that the work began.
The Job space is inaugurated in october 2011, ten years after the closure of the factory of the same name. There is a swimming pool, a music school, an auditorium, spaces for associations … Located just in front of the school group, the Job space and its square are today the real heart of the district, where many events, shows and festivals are organized throughout the year. A hard-won space that keeps alive the memory of those who brought the legendary Seven Deniers paper mill to life.
Practical information :
Place à Job festival, from October 1 to 3, 2021, on the square and in the Job building. With shows, concerts, conferences, an exhibition (to be seen until November 12)… For more information, see the full program on the website of the Job collective. Health pass imperative.
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