December 1, 2018 / 1:05 PM / 16 days ago

Siemens workers warn of drastic EU requirements for Alstom deal: Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: Henri Poupart-Lafarge (right), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alstom, and Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser announcing their deal to merge their rail operations, in Paris, France, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Siemens (SIEGn.DE) workers could oppose what they see as overly drastic EU requirements to approve a planned rail merger with France’s Alstom (ALSO.PA), Der Spiegel reported, citing a statement by one of its labor representatives.

Germany’s Siemens and France’s Alstom agreed last year to merge their rail operations, creating a company with 15 billion euros ($17 billion) in revenue and a workforce of 62,000.

The European Union’s antitrust regulator has sent a series of objections to the groups that will force them to come up with specific concessions, which may include asset sales, to address the problems singled out by the European Commission.

The Commission has set a Jan. 28, 2019, deadline for completing its in-depth investigation.

“We will closely watch if and which products are to be split off,” Juergen Kerner, who sits on Siemens’ supervisory board and the executive committee of IG Metall, Germany’s most powerful labor union, said in the statement obtained by Der Spiegel.

Workers will “not accept that future technologies or whole sites” will disappear, he added.

Siemens and Alstom aim to create a European champion to challenge the advance of China’s state-owned CRRC (601766.SS). Rivals say the power of the combined company could shut them out of the European market.

“The fact that global competitors quite literally have their foot in the door in Europe” was being “consistently ignored” by the commission, Kerner was quoted as saying, adding this was causing “uncertainty and fears” among employees.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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