French car maker Renault could close plants and cut jobs: union

25 May 2020 - 18:55 By Reuters
Employees work on the Renault Zoe electric automobile assembly line in Flins, France, on May 6. European car sales were almost wiped out in April after governments across the continent moved to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Employees work on the Renault Zoe electric automobile assembly line in Flins, France, on May 6. European car sales were almost wiped out in April after governments across the continent moved to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Image: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

French car maker Renault could unveil job cuts and plants closures on Thursday, as the company looks to save 2 billion euros (roughly R38.86bn) in costs, a representative for far-left union CGT said on Monday.

Renault has called for a meeting with unions on Thursday regarding its cost-saving plans, said the representative.

"This is when the general management will formalise what it calls a 2 billion [euro] cost-cutting plan, in which further staff reductions and even site closures can be expected," said CGT spokesperson Fabien Gache in a video posted online.

A second union source confirmed that a meeting with unions is planned for Thursday evening.

A Renault spokesperson said French law requires advance notice to staff representatives, adding that he was not aware of the day and the timing of the meeting.

The French car maker, which last year posted its first loss in 10 years, is expected to detail a drastic three-year savings plan at the end of the week.

Renault, which has been in a car-making alliance with Japanese group Nissan for the past two decades, was rocked by the November 2018 arrest of the alliance's architect and long-time boss Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct. Ghosn denies the charges.

The company has also suffered declining sales in key markets, even before the coronavirus pandemic hammered demand for vehicles and threw production into disarray.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who is considering a 5 billion euro (R96.26bn) loan for Renault to help it through the coronavirus crisis, warned on Friday that the company could disappear if it didn't receive help soon.

Renault is 15% owned by the French state.


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