Europe's Carmakers Want to Shrink. Unions Stand in the Way

Union resistance to job cuts has saddled manufacturers with costs
Workers at a Ford plant in Genk, Belgium, protest proposed layoffs Photograph by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Wim Dries was at a public swimming pool with his kids in February when a message over a loudspeaker summoned him to take an urgent call. On the line was the head of Ford Motor’s factory in Genk, Belgium, who said he was being held by workers opposed to a plan to close the plant. “He was surrounded by a group of strikers and the tension was high,” says Dries, the city’s 40-year-old mayor. After Dries offered to send police to the factory, “things cooled down,” and the workers let the manager go, he says.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.