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March 9, 2011updated 08 Apr 2021 8:11am

COMMENT: Union offers Pelata unlikely respite

While the clamour grows around the endless - and supposed - Renault spying affair - even French industry minister Eric Besson has highlighted metaphorically whether the automaker's chief operating officer Patrick Pelata could "offer" his head.

While the clamour grows around the endless – and alleged – Renault spying affair – even French industry minister Eric Besson has highlighted metaphorically whether the automaker’s chief operating officer Patrick Pelata could “offer” his head.

In the absence of comment from his boss, Carlos Ghosn, Pelata seems to have taken a fair bit of flak for what increasingly looks like a realignment of its position by the French manufacturer.

But following a considerable – and unusual – period of silence from the French unions the labour organisations have now broken cover en masse pouring out their thoughts in public.

La Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail (CFDT) is one of the latest to put its two-pennyworth into the great debate, but perhaps not in the way that many imagine.

Instead of joining any chorus for Pelata’s head – where are the other Renault board members by the way? – the CFDT reveals surprisingly staunch backing for the embattled Renault COO.

In a document sent to just-auto by the CFDT, the union notes: “Certainly, the resignation of one of the directors would be a strong symbol, but for the CFDT, it would not necessarily be the right solution.”

“A majority of staff, the engineering services in particular, retain an almost complete confidence in him [Pelata] and count on him to redress Renault ‘s image in France.”

Ringing endorsement indeed. It’s not often a union sings the praises so highly of someone so senior in Renault management and it makes a welcome change from what the under-fire Pelata is presumably reading on a daily basis at the moment.

And as a parting riposte, the CFDT ends its document to just-auto with a dramatic assessment of how it sees the immediate future.

“Certain symbolic resignations would make commitment to…reforms even more difficult and would widen the ditch between staff and management.”

The beleaguered Pelata has friends in some of the more unusual places indeed.

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