Automobile: the manufacturer Renault signs an agreement with the unions to maintain employment in France

The unions and management of French carmaker Renault signed an agreement on Tuesday regarding employment in France. This should make it possible to avoid forced departures and to recruit several thousand people.

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Renault management and the unions signed an employment agreement on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, which covers the next two years. If the French car manufacturer will cut 1,700 jobs in France, in addition to the 4 600 already suppressed in recent years, the unions have obtained that none of these layoffs is forced. These will mainly be voluntary departures, as part of early retirement. In addition, the unions have obtained that there are 2,500 recruitments, including 400 in new trades, such as engineers for electric cars.

Renault has also pledged to build up to 700,000 cars per year in France within three years. This will be done mainly through electric vehicles, of which Renault wants to speed up production, particularly at its site near Douai (North). These commitments obviously aim to reassure the unions, who fear seeing factories relocated or closed. Renault promised them that there would be no site closures in France within three years.

However, produce 700 000 vehicles per year means to return to roughly the levels prior to the health crisis. This seems ambitious in the current context, with the semiconductor shortage and the Covid-19 epidemic continuing to spread. In 2020, the manufacturer produced just over 500 000 cars in France. The numbers are expected to be similar in 2021.

However, not all unions signed this agreement. The CGT refused in particular because this agreement involves several sacrifices for the employees of the group. For example, breaks for new hires will no longer be paid. There are also flexibility measures in the text, which allow more flexibility in working time, such as having to work six Saturdays a year or even less paid overtime.

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