Trade unions request consultation about the future of Audi Brussels


April 2, 2024
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The Christian unions ACV-CSC Metea and CNE called on the management of Audi Brussels on Tuesday to sit down with the social partners ‘as soon as possible’. They ask for ‘a realistic plan for the future’.

The unions say they are deeply disappointed by the decision announced on Thursday not to renew the contracts of 371 temporary workers. “Although the job cuts were not a surprise in themselves, the timing was a bolt from the blue,” it said.

The unions are indignant that the decision was made without social consultation. ‘The management lets the outside world know that for them temporary workers are second-class employees who you can say goodbye to without any fuss.’

The ACV-CSC asks the management to take its responsibility and meet with the social partners as soon as possible to explain its vision on the future of Audi Brussels. “The uncertainty of the past few months creates a very suspicious atmosphere: confidence is lost,” says Jan Baetens, union secretary of ACV-CSC Metea. ‘We also wonder whether the figure of 371 temporary workers has been thoroughly considered, because those posts will now all have to be filled by permanent employees.’

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At the same time, the Christian unions are more accommodating than their liberal and socialist counterparts. The ACLVB expressed its support on Friday for the strike notice that the socialist trade union ABVV had submitted a day earlier. This will take effect on April 8, the day on which production at the Vorst site will resume.

“We believe that we can move forward through consultation,” says Baetens. ‘During the reconciliation process in October 2023, it was agreed that a production level of 20 cars per hour would be maintained until July 2024 and that all employees would keep their jobs. However, at the beginning of this year it was already clear that sales of the Q8 E-Tron (the model made in Vorst, ed.) fell so sharply that this became unfeasible.’

According to Baetens, this presented the management with a choice. ‘Or maintain the production speed, with the result that 3,371 employees will be put on temporary unemployment for large periods until the summer of 2024. Or reduce the production speed, which means saying goodbye to 371 temporary workers. A choice between the plague and cholera.’

At the beginning of February it was announced that the new generation of the Q8 e-tron will no longer be produced at the Vorst factory from 2027. Audi is looking for a solution for the Brussels factory. Cars from another brand of the Volkswagen Group may be built.

In February, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) announced that a task force would be set up on the future of the factory. It will meet for the first time at the beginning of April in order to have the first results by May.

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Trade unions request consultation future Audi Brussels


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