French Govt Blamed For Not Saving Factory That Produced Millions of Medical Masks

A woman sews face masks at the workshop of a garment hand-out point at the University hospital (Uniklinikum) in Essen on March 18, 2020, western Germany. - German leaders urged citizens to stay home, as the government announced unprecedented nationwide measures to radically scale back public life in order to …

French union Solidaires Côtes d’Armor has criticised the government for not saving a factory that produced millions of FFP2 masks before it shut its doors in 2018.

The factory, which operated in the commune of Plaintel near the city of Saint-Brieuc, was owned by the U.S. corporation Honeywell which not only closed the factory but also destroyed the equipment used to make the masks, the union said.

“Honeywell took the irresponsible decision in November 2018 to destroy its eight machines by having them crushed by the recycling centre located in the Châtelet industrial area in Ploufragan,” the union said in a press release, franceinfo reports.

The union added that French President Emmanuel Macron and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire were both sent letters to stop the closure of the factory.

“They undoubtedly thought as good liberals, that an intervention of the State would be useless, since that in a globalised and happy world, the invisible hand of the market would end up showing its efficiency to preserve the general interest,” the union said.

Jean-Jacques Fuan, the former director of the site, lamented a lack of government support to save the factory in 2018, saying: “The company had benefited from significant subsidies at the time of the H1N1 flu, and yet there was no will to summon Honeywell to do everything to save the company.”

The French government had previously ordered 200 million masks to be produced at the factory in 2009 during the H1N1 virus outbreak.

Fuan, however, remains optimistic, saying that many former employees of the factors have reached out to him and that their skills are still available to start making masks in France again if there is sufficient financial backing.

Before its closure by the American global conglomerate, the factory exported masks across the world to as far away as Japan and was said to be profitable.

France is now, along with many other countries, forced to rely on shipments of masks and medical equipment from China as the forces of globalisation have decimated industrial manufacturing centres across the west.

Countries like Spain and the Netherlands, however, are finding Chinese masks and coronavirus test kits to be faulty, with the latter forced to recall hundreds of thousands of masks from Dutch hospitals.

Yale University’s Frank Snowden, a pandemic historian, has labelled the Wuhan coronavirus a “disease of globalisation” and said the virus threatens “the economic and political sinews of globalisation, and [is] causing them to unravel to a certain degree”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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