FRANCE: Renault aims for far higher union deal acceptance rate as CFDT claims victory
One of Renault's major unions claims its tough stance has secured a new deal from the French automaker that will see production volume increased for domestic plants, although the manufacturer wants a high acceptance figure from its labour bodies for the agreement.
After yet another meeting yesterday (19 February) in Paris, Renault says it has offered its four major labour bodies a deal that will see no factory closures in France and increased annual production, in exchange for more productivity, a salary freeze and 7,500 redundancies.
"Negotiating this deal has been a tough fight, but the agreement the unions have obtained answers most of the claims made by the CFDT," noted a statement sent to just-auto from the CFDT union.
"A month ago, management undertook these talks with an essentially technical vision of its French sites' competitivity and putting its staff under unacceptable requirements with the threat of plant closures.
"The CFDT - in categorically refusing this as a basis for discussion - succeeded in changing management's provocative stance for a strategic approach on the question of competitivity in France. By its determination, the CFDT succeeded in pushing management to commit to deep and lasting structural changes."
Renault confirmed its proposals would not involve any factory closures or forced redundancies, but it will stick to the plan to cut 7,500 jobs.
"It is 7,500 redundancies - that has been established - this has been previously discussed and accepted," a Renault spokeswoman in Paris told just-auto.
"[It is] 7,500 without firing anyone - these are people who are naturally leaving the company and who are not being replaced.
"Now it is up to the unions to discuss with their own people and tell us if they agree or not."
Renault needs 30% of its workforce to agree the deal, but says given the scope of the agreement, it is aiming for a far higher acceptance rate.
"Today [20 February], they [unions] are receiving the text of the proposal - they have a few days to deliberate," said the Renault spokeswoman. "This has to go through a legal phase and [be] voted and accepted on a Works Council.
"If everything goes well, then [CEO] Carlos Ghosn will sign. A legal percentage is 30% acceptance, but what Gerard Leclercq [Renault EVP chairman of operations] who is managing the whole thing, says 'this is so important and so big, for sure we would like most of the unions accept it.'"
The CFDT says the deal, if approved, will see all sites move from the 2012 annual production of 530,000 vehicles per year or 60% of capacity to 710,000 by 2016, representing 85%, the break-even threshold.
Beyond that, it claims the manufacturer will aim for 820,000 models per year.