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Work Stoppages at Most Renault Factories in Response to CGT Call

Translated Monday 28 January 2013, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

Work stoppages occurred on Jan. 23 at most Renault corporation factories in response to the call issued by several trade unions, including the CGT, which are condemning the “blackmail’ exercised “from the beginning” by management in negotiations aimed at arriving at a competitiveness agreement.

There were work stoppages in the morning at the factories in Cergy (53 workers), Cléon (405), Douai (26), Flins (385), at the Guyancourt techno-center (250), in Le Mans (190), Sandouville (275), the Fonderie de Bretagne (50) and Sovab (103), according to figures provided by Renault management. The afternoon shifts were also set to halt work at these factories.

At Flins, a symbolic Renault factory, several hundred workers from the Peugeot factory in Aulnay Sous Bois in the Paris suburbs, which is to close in 2014, joined some 500 Renault workers to listen to speeches and lunch together. This action occurred peacefully.

Following the announcement that 7,500 jobs will be cut by the end of 2016 (8,260 jobs according to the trade unions), job cuts that are to be negotiated in the framework of a competitiveness agreement, on Jan. 22 the management of Renault demanded a wage freeze in 2013 in exchange for the attribution of new production from its partners. But, according to the trade unions, management threatened to shut down two factories in France if the draft competitiveness agreement is not signed. This was denied by management. The CGT, the CFDT and the FO trade unions are calling for renewed work stoppages on Jan. 29.

The threat to close two factories in France if a competitiveness agreement is not arrived at was denied on Jan. 22 by management, but on Jan. 23 management considered the shuttering of the factories to be “ineluctable.” Factory closures “would be ineluctable” without a competitiveness agreement between the management of Renault and the trade unions, according to a management document obtained by Agence France Presse on Jan. 23. The document, which was distributed on Jan. 22 to trade union representatives and which includes management’s proposals with regard to a competitiveness agreement, makes it plain that “without [a competitiveness agreement], the commitment not to shut down factories could not be respected and factory closures would be ineluctable.”

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