In Bordeaux, the Labor Exchange is taking up water | EUROtoday

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The entrance hall of the Bordeaux Labor Exchange, March 21, 2024.

From the skin, the Art Deco facade is spectacular. A couple of steps from Place de la Victoire, in Bordeaux, the Labor Exchange, inaugurated on 1er May 1938, stands proudly. But as soon as its doorways are pushed open, the shock is important. In the imposing corridor, rubble remains to be there, coming from the collapsed a part of the ceiling. In November 2023, the torrential rains which flooded the Gironde capital didn’t spare the constructing.

“Usually, when it rains on the flat roof, there is infiltration everywhere. The water penetrates into the hall, four floors below,” says, disenchanted, Stéphane Obé, common secretary of the Union CGT de la Gironde. And the harm doesn't cease there. The union delegate takes stock, on this emblematic 6,000 sq. meter constructing, designed by the architect Jacques d'Welles, housing, amongst different issues, the places of work of all of the union organizations within the division.

The most spectacular harm is positioned within the Ambroise Croizat room. This former 1,200-seat efficiency and projection corridor, embellished with luxurious frescoes and moldings, hosted occasions till 2010, earlier than its situation prohibited it. Since a prognosis carried out on the finish of 2023 and the detection of asbestos, it has been inconceivable to entry it. Stéphane Obé proudly presents the heritage earlier than him, now invisible to most of the people. “We start from a union vision that is specific to us, with a distribution of wealth. And, like material and financial wealth, we also say that culture, art, is a wealth that must be shared.he recalls.

Fifteen years of renovation

At the time of its creation, the Labor Exchange was built “by the workers, for the workers”, with the goal of being a spot of tradition and of “emancipation”, in keeping with Stéphane Obé. Corinne Versigny, member of the Labor Exchange safeguarding collective, specifies that that of the Gironde metropolis is “one of the only ones in France that mixes living cultural heritage with workers’ struggle. This has a very strong resonance for workers. The Bordeaux Labor Exchange was born from this need to have a place for workers, where they could meet to look for work, put forward their demands, train, organize themselves… With this idea that culture had to be democratized , offering yourself to the greatest number, and not just to an elite. »

The city of Bordeaux, owner of the building, originally offered exclusive management to the Departmental Union of the CGT. From 1940, the German occupation forced the CGT to leave, the unions being declared illegal. “The Germans invade the place, where interrogations of those arrested are then carried out”, says Corinne Versigny. At the Liberation, the CGT regained possession of the Labor Exchange. But successive mayors view this area in a damaging mild, in keeping with the CGT. “The union skilled a battle with Alain Juppé [maire de 1995 à 2004 et de 2006 à 2019], as a result of there have been political needs to raze the constructing. Before, a authorized battle came about below Jacques Chaban-Delmas [maire de 1947 à 1995]who wished to name into query the only real administration by the CGT of the Labor Exchange”, explains Stéphane Obé.

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