Stellantis offers French workers 5.3% pay hike, unions unimpressed

The logo of Stellantis is seen on a company's building in Velizy-Villacoublay near Paris, France, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Stellantis (STLA.MI) offered its French workers a 5.3% pay rise to cope with inflation in overnight negotiations, the carmaker said, drawing an unenthusiastic response from unions which have mostly called for an increase of 7.3% to 8.5%.

Five unions are taking part in the wage talks. One, the hardline CGT, is asking for more than 8.5%, though it only formulates its demands in absolute numbers, not in percentages.

"We negotiated in a constructive manner to arrive at a balanced proposal that responds to the expectations of employees while safeguarding the performance of our sites in France," Bruno Bertin, director of human resources for Stellantis in France, said in a statement.

The CFDT union said the proposal was underwhelming given the group's profits and the remuneration package paid out to CEO Carlos Tavares. Stellantis revenues rose 29% globally to 42.1 billion euros ($44 billion) in the third quarter.

"Employees are suffering the full force of galloping inflation, the rising cost of energy and had expected a strong gesture from the company," said CFDT official Christine Virassamy.

Europe's cost-of-living crisis is putting upward pressure on wage inflation as companies across the continent face demands from workers to cushion the impact of rising prices.

The CFE-CGC union said it was taking the offer to its members but expected a further gesture from the company to boost their purchasing power.

Stellantis has said the talks are part of a broader package of measures. In September, the carmaker said it would provide financial support worth up to 1,400 euros each to most of its employees in France.

Inflation in France stood at 7.1% in November on an EU-harmonised basis.

($1 = 0.9497 euros)

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume Editing by Richard Lough and Mark Potter

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