Controversial salary negotiations between French foundry unions and management that could see swingeing cuts of 15% imposed, have been put back to the beginning of September.

Talks between the CFE-CGC union and the Fonderie du Poitou Aluminium (FPA) took place yesterday at the factory site of Vienne in Central Western France with some stark proposals apparently put forward.

“It was clearly said from September/October, the staff of the plant would receive a new contract, which is a lowering of 15% of the basic salary,” a CFE-CGC union spokesman told just-auto from Vienne.

“Today the factory works 39 hours per week and instead of that they will work 35h as made [mandated] by the Loi Aubry. The 35h law has existed since 2000. In reality we work 39h – we are going back to 35h.”

The union official also revealed management had asked for a salary freeze for three years until 2014, while it also intended to transfer 50 staff to other Group sites. FPA has been owned by Groupe Montupet since the beginning of last year.

The 50 staff will be transferred as part of an obligation in France, according to the CFE-CGC, that where insufficient work is available at any one plant, efforts should be made to accommodate personnel at other sites if they exist.

But it is the proposed huge salary cuts that have irked the union the most, raising fears of potentially setting a precedent across other French organisations.

“Management cannot say: ‘Monsieur, you are going to have 15% less,'” said the spokesman. “That has to be agreed.

“If you accept minus 15% that means no matter what business in France could ask to lower its salaries by 15%.”

The union also raised its concern a three-year salary freeze could see an effective cut of 6% given France’s 2% current inflation rate.

No further negotiation between both parties will now take place until the beginning of September as the Vienne factory is taking its annual summer holiday of four weeks.

Calls to FPA’s foundry in Vienne went unanswered, while those to Montupet in Paris were not returned.

The foundry mainly produces engine cylinder heads for Renault, BMW, Citroen and Peugeot among others.