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Renault plants hit by walkouts

 Renault plants hit by walkouts
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Protesting against thousands of layoffs, workers with French car maker Renault walked off the job at plants throughout France on Thursday.

Stoppages of one to two hours were organised by the largest trade union at the company, the CGT, but other unions also took part.

At the Sandouville factory in Normandy, northern France, where 1,000 jobs are to go, union rep Nicolas Guermonprez said: “It is out of the question that Renault’s shareholders should get richer while worker’s families have nothing. And not just the families of the 1,000 at the plant but also those of parts supplies in this area; we can’t let that happen.”

Renault said the redundancies will all be voluntary and they will consult with the unions.

But Jean-Paul Lecoq, the Communist mayor of Gonfreville l’Orcher, next to the Sandouville factory, wants Renault’s chief executive to consider other measures rather than layoffs.

He said: “Carlos Ghosn must first lower the price of the Laguna so they sell more and not focus entirely on profit margins and satisfying the shareholders and that way they’ll retain the workers whose skills can be used to make future models”

Renault said it has to cut costs in the face of falling sales. It has reduced the estimates of the number of vehicles it will sell next year by 10% to three million.

Later this month Renault will announce another 2,000 job cuts throughout Europe.

The unions said they are considering more work stoppages.