Renault Group plans to raise the plant’s degree of automation from only 5 pc today to 20 pc in five years’ time
In the context in which Renault Group faces the French Government’s offensive to enhance the state’s authority in the decision-making process, as well as the trade unions’ demands to relocate in France the production of successful auto vehicles (such as the Sandero model), the French Group has “bolder” plans in Romania. The plans are welcomed. We hope they are welcomed by trade unions too, trade unions that in recent weeks have protested against the Romanian Government and the French employer. Something not often seen in the world.
Thus, Renault plans to take measures in order to improve Dacia plant’s competitiveness, Renault Romania General Manager Nicolas Maure stated on Monday. The reasoning seems plausible: only in this way would Romania’s Dacia plant avoid being surpassed by Renault’s new plant in Tangiers, Morocco. Nicolas Maure explained that Renault will raise Dacia plant’s degree of automation, will keep salary hikes under tabs and will not fill-in the positions vacated by some employees.
Renault took over the Dacia plant in 1999. Back then the plant had 28,000 employees. An excessively high number. 14,000 of Renault Romania’s approximately 17,000 employees currently work at the Dacia plant located in Mioveni, near Pitesti. But the Romanian plant suffers because of the hike in salary costs. The General Manager of Renault Romania emphasized that in order to boost the competitiveness of the plant located in Mioveni/Pitesti, Renault plans to raise its degree of automation from only 5 per cent today to 20 per cent in five years’ time. Nicolas Maure explained that although big auto manufacturing plants in Western countries have degrees of automation of up to 90 per cent, Renault does not want to move in this direction too fast in Romania in order to avoid a “tsunami” in what concerns jobs.
In what concerns the lack of competitiveness, Nicolas Maure emphasized the lack of a highway that would offer “access” to Western Europe.
Of course what Maure says is true, however this should not be used as a weapon of discord between the employees in Pitesti and the members of government in Bucharest. And the comparison with Tangiers which, from this point of view, would be more competitive is relative. First of all the social and national stability and security in Romania and Morocco cannot be compared, especially in the long term. Secondly, the labour force in Romania is highly-qualified. The innovation centre in Titu, Romania, envied even by the trade union members of CGT Paris, is proof in this regard. When he took the decision to set up this centre, Carlos Gohn, the owner of Renault-Nissan, knew that Romania is competitive in the long term.
So we wish the Dacia Renault Pitesti plant enhanced competitiveness, long life and a higher year-on-year production growth in 2015.