Pan-European metalworker unions say they are concentrating primarily on the proposed PSA Peugeot Citroen/General Motors alliance, ahead of looming capacity issues.

Over-capacity is rapidly coming to the forefront of European automakers’ minds as stubborn economic headwinds continue to batter consumer confidence and as most markets show persistent falls in vehicle purchases.

However, despite that undoubted hurdle to be faced – and some manufacturers have cited the need to strip up to 20% production out of the system – unions are exercised first by PSA and GM’s apparent determination to pursue alliance synergies through such areas as logistics and purchasing.

“This capacity issue is of course to be explored further and we will have other meetings [about it and we need] not to lean ourselves too far out of the window,” European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) PSA GM Opel/Vauxhall policy adviser,
Ralf Goetz, told just-auto from Brussels.”

The alliance has clearly spooked the automakers’ unions with the result several pan-European meetings have taken place to to address the issue urgently, with the tie-up leading Goetz to identify it as a “threat” for further development of both manufacturers.

Only this week(19 April), the EMG slammed information coming from PSA and GM concerning the tie-up as “abysmal” – a position GM Europe refutes – insisting it maintains regular contact with its labour bodies.

PSA has also been high on the list of French Presidential candidates – incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist challenger Francois Hollande among the front runners – with both discussing the overall state of the country’s automotive sector and its jobs future.

The first round of Presidential elections take place this Sunday, with Sarkozy and Hollande widely tipped to be the two candidates most likely to contest a further run-off ballot.