By on November 19, 2019

Peugeot 208, Image: PSA Group

There’s a ways to go before Fiat Chrysler and France’s Groupe PSA officially slip the ring onto the other’s finger, but the engagement seems strong. Stronger, in fact, now that a majority of labor unions representing PSA workers have voiced approval for the proposed merger.

As the wedding day approaches, European labor bosses promise to dig through any and all agreements, searching for any clause or decision that might hurt their members.

Reuters reports that all labor reps at a meeting of PSA’s works council gave the tentative merger agreement a thumbs-up, which is no small thing. Appeasing organized labor on the other side of the Atlantic is a big part of getting the 50:50 merger off the ground.

“We will remain vigilant about the social impact and await a clearer and more detailed picture of the plan’s implications for plants, volume, and how much work will be given to the foundries,” said Franck Don, representative of the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens. The CFTC is one of five major French labor unions.

“But the project in the form it’s been presented makes sense because the two groups complement each other, are in good financial health, and thanks to the new format will attain a critical size which is vital in the auto business today,” Don continued.

Concern over French jobs and manufacturing helped sink the proposed merger between FCA and Renault earlier this year. The French government, which holds a 12-percent stake in PSA, warned the automaker to maintain its French footprint after details of the proposed merger came to light. Under the plan, both automakers would combine into an entity headquartered in The Netherlands, with PSA boss Carlos Tavares serving as CEO.

FCA’s John Elkann would serve as chairman of the new entity, with FCA CEO Mike Manley likely heading up the North American unit.

Currently, FCA finds itself at the bargaining table, eager to hammer out a four-year labor contract with the UAW. The automaker’s liberal use of temporary workers and lower labor costs compared to Ford and GM could change if the company wants to avoid a strike. As for workers in Germany, employees of the PSA-owned Opel recently signed their own four-year labor deal, which should ease any merger-related tensions on that front.

[Image: Groupe PSA]

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