Renault has trimmed its French workforce by around 2,500 jobs in the first year of a productivity agreement with local unions. The French carmaker’s head of French personnel Jean Agulhon said that they are now about one-third of the objective of cutting 7,500 positions under the three-year plan. Agulhon said that the productivity agreement was on track to deliver EUR500 million ($690 million) in promised savings.
In 2013, Renault agreed to keep its French sites open in exchange for hiking working hours, limiting wage increases and cutting at least 7,500 jobs by 2016. The deal was inked by three of Renault's four main unions and entails increasing local production by about a third to 710,000 vehicles while offering early retirements and other voluntary job cuts to trim site costs.
Early retirement offers are being availed by 80 percent to 90 percent of eligible workers, a move that could help top the overall job cuts target significantly, Renault said. The carmaker said that the deal had started to trim the hourly labor cost gap between its French and Spanish workers, who signed the first of three flexibility agreement in 2010.
Marie-Francoise Damesin, human resources chief for the Renault-Nissan alliance, remarked that this is the first time that French hourly wage costs have fallen, but noted that French labor costs remain "among the highest of all our global industrial sites."
She added it was still too early to say whether the French carmaker would ask for more productivity gains from unions when the current agreement expires. He she noted that Spanish unions are already on their third accord with Renault, saying that “once the dynamic had been created they continued in the same framework." [source: Reuters]