Comrades, Come Rally: While PSA And GM Snuggle Closer, Workers Of PSA And Opel Unite

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

PSA and GM look at expanding their alliance. Unions are not sitting still either. Workers of PSA and GM look at forming their own strategic alliance.

PSA and GM plan to intensify their alliance, PSA told Reuters. In addition to previously announced plans, the two may share larger vehicles, dual-clutch transmissions and a small car for emerging markets Peugeot says. Ominously, plans to assemble a new compact vehicle at Peugeot’s Madrid plant have been ditched. GM has not announced yet that the car will be built at one of its plants.

All this triggered a backlash at the unions. Labor leaders of Opel-Vauxhall and PSA will enter talks to form a strategic alliance, designed as a counterweight to plans by GM and PSA. Instead of playing workers against each other, PSA and GM could be faced by a united front.

“Spain is the one country where the competition will likely be the worst, since there are two PSA plants and one Opel plant that can be played off against one another,” Wolf Jaecklein of the European Metalworkers Federation (EMF) told Reuters. Jaecklein continued:

“The current strategy of both carmakers is to play their own respective plants off against one other. By creating this alliance, however, they can increase the size of the pitch and expand the competition to include all production sites. We therefore need to expand our approach beyond the individual companies and jointly defend against this tactic, that’s the key.”

Maybe they should seek advice from their union brothers at the UAW. On second thought, they might not. The union-busting strategy is said to be a brainchild of Stephen Girsky, UAW representative on GM’s board. Girsky has been dispatched to Europe as GM’s designated union-hitter. Come to think of it, the UAW shouldn’t count too much on IG Metall support either.

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