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FRANCE: Domestic car making a priority to avoid "infernal spiral": union

By Simon Warburton | 24 September 2012

France's Force Ouvriere (FO) union metalworking division is requesting a national debate surrounding the future of the country's automotive industry to avoid what it claims is the "infernal spiral" of potential job losses.

The labour body is forecasting the metallurgy sector will see recruitment start to pick up, but is highlighting the impact of staffing reductions the industry currently faces.

PSA Peugeot-Citroen's announcement it will cut up to 8,000 jobs in France as well as close its Aulnay plant near Paris, has provoked widespread union fury, with several labour organisations meeting French President, Francois Hollande, last week to voice their concerns.

"FO Metaux is urgently asking again for a national negotiation on those sectors in difficulty, especially the automotive industry, so as to reactivate emergency job measures, such as APLD [short-time working]," said an FO statement.

"The automotive sector can not content itself with presentations and studies. The UIMM [French metalworkers association] must, as all vehicle manufacturers, commit itself to making cars in France, which would reverse the infernal spiral of fewer jobs in a sector that must remain the future of France."

Despite the FO's call to arms, it nonetheless added research showed metallurgy industries in France could recruit between 115,000 and 128,000 people per year up to 2020, a total of around 900,000 staff.

"For FO Metaux, French jobs in the whole of the metallurgy sector must stay a priority so as to preserve know-how and skills," added the union.