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CFE-CGC reacts cautiously to Renault-FCA talks

By Simon Warburton | 30 May 2019

While no hands have been yet shaken on any Renault-FCA deal the CFE-CGC union is studying the impact of any tie-up on its members

While no hands have been yet shaken on any Renault-FCA deal the CFE-CGC union is studying the impact of any tie-up on its members

France' moderate CFE-CGC metalworking union has reacted with neutrality to any possibility of a 50:50 tie-up between Renault and Fiat-Chrysler (FCA).

Any potential merger has attracted massive publicity in France, where the Renault-Nissan Alliance has already undergone particular scrutiny with former CEO, Carlos Ghosn's continued presence in a Tokyo detention centre.

"CFE-CGC takes note of Renault's announcement to study the merger proposal formalised by FCA," said a union statement. "Following an extraordinary board meeting which took place on 27 May, Renault unveiled its commitment to study with "interest" the "friendly proposition" from FCA.

"This proposition focuses on a 50:50 merger project between the two Groups. For CFE-CGC it will be advisable to formulate an opinion on such a fusion when it can identify the strategy of this new automotive giant, [as well as] the degree of keeping the interests of the stakeholders we represent: the Renault staff.

"For the time being, in the absence of more elements [information], the CFE-CGC reaffirms the importance all stakeholders are represented in the governance of a 21st century business."

The CFE-CGC's initial reaction is in contrast to France's CFDT (Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail) labour body, which says there are"many unanswered questions" surrounding FCA's proposal.

"The synergies of our two groups with the Alliance position us among the best manufacturers in the world," said a CFDT statement. "Of course, many questions remain unanswered on how that will happen and on the strategic, industrial and social consequences."

Renault will be eyeing with some nervousness the reaction of the far more hardline CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail), union, whose potential hostility to any tie-up could muddy the waters somewhat.

FCA says in its proposal benefits from the proposed merger can happen without the need for plant shutdowns, although that claim is likely to come under considerable scrutiny, particularly from politicians in France.

The French government owns 15% of Renault's shares, meaning its approval is key if the merger is to go ahead.