“Headway” Made in Conti Clairoix Negotiations
Negotiations between Continental AG’s French and German management and representatives of the French government and the CGT trade union have, reports Conti, “made a bit of headway.” The respective parties met in Paris on Tuesday May 26 to discuss solutions for the company’s Clairoix facility, and further talks are scheduled for later in the week.
“We entered into a detailed discussion of the offer presented last week and argued for an adequate overall solution that takes into account seniority at the company and further training measures,” remarked Dr. Thomas Winkelmann, who represents Continental’s German management in his role as HR manager for replacement market passenger car tyres in Europe and Africa. “So far, union representatives have concentrated on uniform one-off severance pay for all employees affected. In the next round of negotiations we intend to talk over a detailed package solution.”
Continental’s claims that the severance package it is offering provides for a combination of different components. “Our primary goal is and remains, of course, that of ensuring the qualification of as many employees as possible and of providing them all the assistance we can in finding new employment,” Winkelmann added.
The thinking behind the proposed combination of compensation and indemnity, says Conti, adheres to the principle that long-term service should be reflected by higher severance payment. Thus Continental reports that “in the face of the union representatives’ demand for a very high severance payment for all employees, it has not yet been possible to come to reach an agreement.” The company adds that, in the eyes of its management, a possible joint solution would be one that is “in line” with the kind of automotive industry crisis that has persisted since the third quarter of 2008.