Essilor, the ophthalmic lens unit of the Franco-Italian group EssilorLuxottica, is grouping four existing French sites into a new laboratory that will be located in the Paris region.

From the end of 2023, the company will transfer the ophthalmic lens business of the sites of Antony, Vaulx-en-Velin and le Mans as well as the distribution activity located in Châlons-en-Champagne and the assembly facility in Toulouse to the new site in which it will invest €40 million.

The state-of-the-art laboratory will complement the company’s innovation hub and its optical instruments division that are also situated in the Paris region. The reinforced collaboration of the services will speed up the introduction of forthcoming “major innovations,” according to Essilor. It added that it will be able to respond faster to requests from French opticians for complete lens and frame solutions delivered in 24 hours, new solutions for myopia and “new generation” services.

The new laboratory will have a staff of 300. Essilor will offer to the personnel of the sites that it is closing the possibility to be relocated within the company, starting with the new laboratory.

But the acceptance level of Essilor’s proposal could be low. In an interview with the local newspaper Le Progrès, Olivier Armanini, a representative of the CGT trade union at the Vaux-en-Velin site near Lyon said that only 5 percent of the facility’s staff is ready to move to the Paris region. The facility, which produces 4,000 lenses a day, employs about 100 people and is scheduled to close early 2024.