Renault unions approve plan to cut 2,500 white-collar jobs

Europe

PARIS — Unions at Renault have approved the automaker’s plan to cut about 2,500 technical and support positions in France through voluntary measures.

Positions in engineering and similar will be cut over the next two years through early retirement, retraining and buyouts. Renault hopes to trim an additional 2,100 blue-collar positions, a plan that will be negotiated in the coming months. 

This spring Renault unveiled 2 billion euro cost-cutting plan to eliminate about 14,600 jobs worldwide and lower production capacity by almost a fifth to slash costs amid the global auto industry slump.

Renault recorded a record loss of 7.3 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in the first half of 2020, and has tapped 3 billion euros in French government-backed loans to ensure liquidity.

The plan includes trimming 4,600 positions in France, or about 10 percent of the automaker’s total in its home country, through voluntary retirement and retraining. It sparked an outcry from labor unions.

A majority of union-represented white-collar workers approved the plan this week, allowing Renault to start the process.

Guillaume Ribeyre, a representative of the CFE-CGC union syndicate, the largest at Renault, told French media that the voluntary job cut and retraining plan was at the “top level” of such agreements.

“The compromise reached places the agreement among the most advantageous in its category for all the employees that the CFE-CGC defends, regardless of their status,” the syndicate said in a statement, according to the French website autoactu.com.

The union said it had obtained assurances that Renault would hire at least 250 permanent employees this year, and would offer retraining for workers who take a buyout before their departure without any loss of salaries.

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