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FRANCE: CFE-CGC union criticises "no alternative" to PSA job cuts

By Simon Warburton | 18 September 2012

A major French union has criticised last week's government-commissioned report into plans by PSA Peugeot-Citroen to cut up to 8,000 jobs in France and shut its Aulnay plant near Paris.

French Economics Redevelopment Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, asked industry expert, Emmanuel Sartorius, to respond to the automaker's drastic jobs plan, but his response has incurred the anger of the CFE-CGC union.

Sartorius pointed to "chronic under-utilisation" of PSA plants as the economic crisis sweeping Europe and France shows no immediate sign of abating - with the independent expert appearing not to contest the need for "redevelopment" - a position the union says it deplores.

"The CFE-CGC regrets no alternative solution to the job cuts has been proposed, even though we realise the report by Monsieur Sartorius confirms the necessity of a redevelopment plan for PSA, " noted the labour body. "

"It is not for the CFE-CGC to endorse redundancies, but to prepare alternative industrial solutions, which will benefit, if not for PSA employees, at least the numerous requests for jobs in our regions.

"Beyond the declarations of intention and the organisation of tripartite meetings, the CFE-CGC expects concrete contributions by all parties involved to reduce or end the proposed job cuts and to suggest long-term solutions for all workers."

As well as the CFE-CGC, a whole host of French unions has had its say concerning the situation at PSA, including the CFDT, CFTC, CGT, FO et GSEA, labour bodies, as well as deputies and management at the automaker.

Sartorius' report noted it did not contest the need "in principle" for PSA to reorganise its activities in France, while a statement from Montebourg's Ministry noted he had asked PSA management to produce a "durable recovery strategy."

The Economic Redevelopment Minister added he had "responded favourably" to union and deputy requests for the tripartite talks in a bid to reduce redundancies.