Renault workers in Spain protest work reduction plan
About 25,000 workers braved heavy rain to march through the city of Valladolid to call on the automaker to guarantee staff levels.MADRID – Thousands of Renault workers braved heavy rain to march through the central Spanish city of Valladolid Saturday to protest a work reduction plan by the French automaker at its four plants in the country.
On 3 December, Renault management in Spain proposed 2009 cuts at its two factories in Valladolid, one in the nearby town of Palencia and another in the southern city of Sevilla.
Workers at one of the Valladolid plants are also waiting for Renault to assign it a new vehicle for production that would ensure its survival.
The protesters, who numbered 25,000 according to unions and 16,000 according to police, marched through the city in driving rain before a statement was read out calling on Renault to guarantee staff levels, Spanish media said.
"If this isn't resolved, war, war and war," the protesters chanted.
Renault employs around 11,000 people in Spain, Europe's third-largest automaker, of whom 9,800 work in its four factories.
The company proposed a 60-day work reduction plan at one Valladolid plant and a 30-day cut at the other three factories.
The company blamed "the strong and continued fall in European markets, the main destinations of Renault Spain products" for its decision.
The auto manufacturing sector accounts for just under 10 percent of Spain's economic output and 15 percent of exports.
Several large automakers in the country have already taken measures to cut their workforce, such as Japan's Nissan and US group Ford.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero late last month announced an 800-million-euro cash injection for the country's auto sector, part of an 11-billion-euro stimulus package to help the country cope with the global financial crisis.
[AFP / Expatica]