FRANCE: Union mood turns ugly as Renault/PSA convene Paris talks
French unions are starting to ratchet up the industrial relations temperature, partially destroying the entrance to Renault's Flins factory and ahead of today's crunch meeting between both France's major automakers and their labour bodies in Paris.
The past few days have seen a significant increase in militant union activity, with a new development of labour bodies from both Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen uniting to protest against drastic staffing cuts in France.
Footage from the hardline CGT union shows protesters bursting through factory gates and letting off flares at Flins, 40km north of Paris, where the Clio and Zoe models are produced.
That incident was last week and involved union protesters from both French manufacturers, with Renault confirming a demonstration was continuing today (29 January) although it is unclear of the labour body make-up.
"Last week it was part of the entrance which was destroyed indeed, but there was no other damage inside," a Renault spokeswoman in Paris told just-auto.
"I am not sure who is paying for this. Obviously we are not very glad about this. It did damage, which we deplore."
As the temperature rises at Renault's plants, all four of the French automaker's labour bodies are currently meeting at its Billancourt headquarters in Paris, but the CFDT union has presaged the talks by insisting on a base manufacturing level despite the company's recent announcement it plans to make 7,500 staff redundant.
"Renault must commit itself to a manufacturing volume in France and the the CFDT demands a minimum of 800,000 vehicles for French sites, with the assurance no factory will have less than 70% capacity," a CFDT statement sent to just-auto said.
"Renault must develop the automotive sector in France more oriented towards partnership in relation to established suppliers and which favours being situated in the country.
"These measures must be taken with measurable indicators, quantitatively and qualitatively."
Renault is looking to implement the drastic headcount cuts in response to plunging European demand, but insists the reduction will not lead to factory closures .
"I think everybody knows today [the] purpose [of the] negotiations is to discuss and to listen to all the counter-proposals made by the unions," the Renault spokeswoman said.
"Obviously we are not going to comment on each point and we are just going to let people talk within the discussions."