avenues for a “just transition” on an ecological and social level

Are the pursuit of climate objectives and the planned end of thermal vehicles (diesel and gasoline) the death of the automotive industry in France? In a report published Wednesday, June 30, the Nicolas-Hulot Foundation (FNH) and the CFDT-Métallurgie want to believe that the decline is not inevitable. On one condition: that France accelerates the ecological and social transition of the sector.

“The ecological question is not the enemy of the social question”, insisted Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, during the presentation of the report, the day before its publication. The result of a long consultation process between the FNH and CFDT-Métallurgie, and the expertise of the Syndex research firm, the report is based on an observation: the automotive industry is the sector which, in France, is destroying the most jobs.

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In ten years, the industry has lost 100,000. “The international arbitrations of the major clients of the sector: relocations, supply in low-cost countries and abandonment of the production of small models”. And an absence of a coordinated industrial strategy at European level, incapable of putting an end to the practices of social dumping which fuel relocations within the European Union itself.

100,000 jobs threatened

The decarbonisation of the sector constitutes an additional social risk. The government has set 2040 the end of the sale of new diesel and gasoline vehicles to achieve the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. But, at European level, we are moving towards an exit from thermal in 2035 .

However, the manufacture of electric motors requires 60% less labor than diesel and 40% less than gasoline, recalls the report. With the acceleration of the electrification of the automobile fleet, 10,000 jobs are threatened in the engine sector alone in the next five years and 16,000 by 2030. For the automotive sector as a whole, if the dynamics remain unchanged, 100,000 jobs could disappear by 2035, according to projections from the Observatory of metallurgy.

According to the report, the absence of “eco-socio-conditionalities” in the aid distributed in 2020 constituted “a major political error”

How, then, to reverse the trend? The report raises the question for the engine sector and its 85,000 jobs (57,000 excluding temporary and attached employees). The FNH, CFDT and Syndex have developed four scenarios for 2050. They show that it is necessary to anticipate and accelerate, because the continuation of the stimulus policy put in place by the government is not enough: the absence “Eco-socio-conditionalities” to aid distributed in 2020 constituted “A major political error”, they assert. A missed opportunity to boost the “Just transition” they are calling for. No obligation has been given to manufacturers to maintain employment in France.

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