A year after a referendum is a highly symbolic and publicized, the workers of the Smart plant in Hambach (Moselle) have hired Monday with their contract of 39 hours paid for 37, ending a long standoff between the management and the unions.
in Front of the turnstiles of the factory, on the borders of Moselle and Alsace, the first arrivals are in a hurry. They release just as they had really no alternative before beep, and go and take their position.
“There was the risk of unemployment, so we do not have too had the choice”, ahead of Thierry Drouin, who has, as more than 95% of the employees signed an amendment to his employment contract being transferred to 39h.
Submitted for a consultative referendum on 11 September 2015, the measure had been adopted by 56% of the employees, but rejected by the unions. To circumvent this opposition, the management then made to sign endorsements of each employee.
The rocking motion, without increase of salary, is officially the 1st of October at midnight, but all of the devices will come gradually into force. Those on the executive – a reduction of days of RTT will thus be put in place in early 2017.
Approximately 100,000 vehicles per year out of the factory, but by this time the production is low, explain to employees, who wonder, therefore, what will be the hours.
“We lower the payroll so that the production is slowed down,” explains Jean-Luc Bielitz, steward central CGT. Examples of this are the interim clink glasses: in one of the workshops, they are passed 40 a few months ago, to 3.4 today, added the trade unionist.
“The transition to 39h, it is to give a sign to Daimler, and tell them that it has lowered wages”, but the production does not follow, according to him. “The goal is to get off the wage bill. But with decreases in activity, we feared the worst. Layoffs”.
David, who works in maintenance, hope, however, that Smart will live up to its commitments: no economic dismissal by 2020.
- “Plan of the last chance” -
The transition to 39h – before a gradual return to 35 in 2020, “it is the only choice that we offer. And I’m glad I have a job. The region is a disaster, and he should make an effort,” adds the employee.
The measures, contained in the “Pact 2020″ must, according to the subsidiary of the German group Daimler to “improve the competitiveness” of the plant by lowering the hourly cost of labour – and therefore to keep the jobs.
Of explanations which had satisfied, in the referendum of September 2015, 56% of the some 800 employees. But the analysis of the results highlighted a large disparity within the plant: on one side the officers, employees, technicians and supervisors had said “yes” to 74%, the other workers were 39% to approve the project.
the CGT and The CFDT, the majority as representing 53% of the employees at the two of them, had opposed their right of veto on the background of the tension around the law, which one of the articles most debated concerned the referendum business.
After weeks of tension and “threats” according to the trade unions, the management has, therefore, sent to employees of the riders individual in their employment contracts.
A “social regression” but also the “plan of the last chance” to avoid the relocation of production of the Smart for Two in Novo Mesto (Slovenia), indicated a representative of the CFE-CGC, which does not want to express themselves.
The CFDT, who had denounced a climate of “deleterious” and pressure on the employees, was not reachable for comment.
The plant employs 800 people directly, but the other 800 employees working on the site for sub-contractor of Smart could be affected by the job changes of the time.
This is not the first time in the automotive industry that this kind of change takes place. Michelin, Renault, PSA, or Continental have, in the past, negotiated temporary agreements to increase working time and flexibility, reduce the wages or remove benefits, with more or less success, and sometimes layoffs.
03/10/2016 07:15:39 – Hambach (France) (AFP) – © 2016 AFP