The car plant where 46-year-old Agathe Martin works is shutting down, but when PSA Peugeot offered her a job in another factory elsewhere in the Paris region she said “Non”.
After 17 years working in the same plant, taking the job would have meant either a much longer commute or losing her cheap social housing and uprooting her two daughters in a move.
The single mother prefers to stay put and look for another job even if that will be hard amid soaring unemployment and with only factory work and small jobs on her CV. If all else fails, she will still have more than 60,000 euros in severance pay.
“I am lucky enough to have a small house with a rather modest rent and I would not find that elsewhere,” Martin said, huddled in a bicycle shed to escape the rain with colleagues who had just cashed in their severance cheques.
More than 2,000 km (1,250 miles) away on the sunny Italian island of Sicily, 47-year-old Calogero Cassia struggles with the same problems.
After losing his job nearly two years ago when the Fiat plant near Palermo where he had worked for 25 years shut down, the father of three would be happy to take any kind of job in the area, where he has strong family ties.
But he worries that he does not have the skills to transfer to other sectors.
“If you look around it is just desperation, you find nothing, we can’t manage,” he said. The Termini Imerese plant, the main local employer, shut because of its remote location on an island south of mainland Italy, with 2,200 workers affected.
I suppose this happens here to an extent, but North Dakota is filled with transplants living in crappy, expensive housing because they have excellent career opportunities. And say what you will about the illegals, they have made a difficult journey, far from home, seeking work. (Yes, I know, some are on welfare, but there are lots of them around here, doing everything from teaching gym classes to lawn work to construction – working their asses off. And many of them are sending money home to parents, children, nieces and nephews). But people won’t move from one neighborhood in Paris to another, or accept a long commute? What’s that all about?