Inflation is up so Stellantis workers in France to get extra cash

Stellantis workers in France are set to get bonuses connected to the rising impact of inflation.

The one-time payments, according to Reuters, are worth up to about $1,343 (1,400 euros) based on the exchange rate Tuesday afternoon.

The payments were confirmed by Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson.

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French employees of the automaker, which owns the Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat brands as well as Peugeot, Citroen and others around the world, would get assistance based on their salaries. About 60% would get the maximum, 20% would receive $1,055 (1,100 euros) based on the exchange rate and the top earning 20% would not be eligible for assistance, according to Reuters, noting that the aid would include the “possibility to convert three days off for overtime into cash.”

The news service reported that France's CFDT union said the payments "would not resolve the problem of declining purchasing power and that salaries needed to be improved."

When asked about the assistance and whether anything similar was possible for U.S. and Canadian union workers, Tinson referenced upcoming contract bargaining with the Detroit Three.

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“Wages and benefits will be negotiated during 2023 bargaining with both the UAW and Unifor. The current agreements include built-in pay increases that were designed to contemplate changes in the economy,” Tinson said.

The current four-year contract, ratified in 2019 before the merger that created Stellantis, provided for, among other things, two 3% annual raises and two 4% lump sum payments for top rate production workers and skilled trades workers in addition to signing bonuses ($9,000 for traditional and $3,500 for temporary workers) and a 12.5% profit-sharing boost, which this year led to checks before taxes of potentially $14,670.

The company has about 46,000 workers represented by the UAW and 8,300 workers represented by Unifor, the Canadian autoworkers' union, according to Tinson.

UAW spokeswoman Sandra Engle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Unifor provided a statement:

“It is premature for Unifor to describe any specific proposals that may form part of next year’s negotiations with Stellantis and other Detroit Three automakers. However, the issue of inflation has been the subject of discussion in previous rounds of auto bargaining. Unifor expects no different for next year’s negotiations.”

The Reuters report noted that salary negotiations in France, which had been set for next year, would also start earlier, in December, and that talks in Italy will begin in the “coming weeks.”

Inflation has been a hot topic around the globe, hitting 8.3% in the United States and 9.1% in Europe last month.Cost and general economic pressures, however, are compounded in Europe because of an unfolding energy crisis, something that Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares discussed during this year’s Detroit auto show.

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The company could institute more remote work where feasible and avoid work when the energy supply is tight, among a “portfolio of initiatives” being planned to deal with the crisis, Tavares told journalists on Sept. 14.

Free Press staff writer Phoebe Wall Howard contributed to this report.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence. Become a subscriber.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Inflation bonus planned for these Stellantis workers