Trade union leaders at General Motors' European operations and at Renault SA oppose an alliance of the two companies.
"I am very, very afraid this will have a negative impact regarding our workers in engineering and production," Klaus Franz, head of GM Europe's works council, told Automotive News Europe.
Auto unions in France have considerable clout with the French government, which holds a 15.3 percent stake in Renault. The unions also have a long history of contentious relations with the company.
Philippe Noel, national secretary for the Confederation Generale du Travail, Renault's top trade union, doubted that a GM partnership would benefit the French carmaker or Japanese partner Nissan. Renault has a controlling 44.4 percent stake in Nissan.
"The benefits of the alliance between Renault and Nissan are not yet proven, at least in terms of car sales, with both experiencing a decline in their home markets," Noel said.
Noel's union has one of the three employee seats on Renault's 18-member board of directors.
Franz is organizing a meeting with the European Metalworkers' Federation to discuss the potential alliance. The meeting will take place within two weeks, he said.
Franz said Adam Opel AG, GM's German-based subsidiary, and Renault have too much product overlap in their volume models and underused capacity in their respective plants to make an alliance work.
Franz said he will discuss those grievances during a meeting with the metalworkers federation. The federation represents 68 metalworkers unions from 30 countries with a combined 6.5 million members.
"My experience with alliances or megamergers is that they have a very short-term positive impact on the stock market and a long-term negative impact on employment and cost lots of money," Franz said.
The Renault union Confederation Generale thinks the French automaker and Nissan should tackle declining sales before becoming involved with GM. Said Noel: "An alliance with GM seems premature."
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