On 15 January 2013, French car manufacturer Renault announced plans to reduce the workforce by 7500 positions by the end of 2016.
This statement takes place in the framework of an important collective negotiation on company level to improve Renault’s competitiveness in France. The management aims to avoid forced dismissals and hopes that enough employees will sign up for the early retirement plan. The early retirement severance package was presented to all employees. The restructuring plan, currently being negotiated with the unions, would enable workers over 58, especially those with labour-intensive posts, to leave the company with 75% of their salary until they receive full pension.
The job cuts amount to 14% of Renault’s total workforce in France. The company has specified that if 8250 employees volunteer for early retirement, they will recruit 750 new employees. Through the same collective negotiation, the management also wants to increase the working time. The company stated that if no agreement on the subject is reached with unions, it would not rule out closing a factory.
So far, the government has opposed this kind of large scale collective dismissals, especially the social plan (8000 job cuts) launched by another French car manufacturer, PSA Peugeot-Citroën, in July 2012 (see here)