European trade union moots ‘just transition’ for new CO2 standards, says 300,000 jobs at risk

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 01 Oct 2018

IndustriAll Europe, which represents 7.1 million working people of nearly 200 European trade unions, said that on October 3, the European Parliament will vote on the proposed regulation on CO2 standards for cars and vans.

Initially, the Commission proposed a 30 percent CO2 emission reduction of both cars and vans by 2030. An intermediate target of a 15 percent reduction was set for 2025; however, on September 10, 2018, the EP’s environment committee voted to increase these targets to 20 and 45 percent. At the same time penalties are to be introduced for those producers that fail to hit sales targets for low- and zero-emissions vehicles of 20 percent in 2025 and 40 percent for 2030.

Luc Triangle, general secretary, IndustriAll Europe, said: “We support the change towards greener cars, but we have to make sure that workers are not paying the price of this transition. It will require time, budgets and ambition in order to organise up- and re-skilling programmes for workers, to put in place internal transformation programmes at company level, to develop support programmes for SME’s to help them find alternative business opportunities, and to implement regional development plans for automotive regions. Public authorities and companies both have an important responsibility to put this in place.”

Nearly 300,000 jobs in Europe at risk
The trade union said that a recent study by the Fraunhofer Institute, on the labour content of components of both electric and conventional powertrains, concluded that an automotive fleet composed of 40 percent BEV’s and 25 percent PHEV’s in 2030, a scenario that mirrors the proposals of the EP’s environmental committee, would reduce employment in the production of powertrains by 18 percent in Germany. Extrapolated to the European level, this would mean that 108,000 direct jobs are at risk. As each direct job in the automotive industry creates at least 1.7 indirect jobs in the supply chain, it the body said that it can be assumed that the current proposals would put at least 291,600 jobs at risk by 2030.

These figures take into account the new jobs generated in power electronics and battery production, but not the impact of other structural trends, such as increased robotisation or the development of mobility services (resulting in less car sales). As the effects will be unevenly distributed, the challenges of electrification for individual companies and regions specialised in conventional technologies will ultimately be extremely serious.

Electrical Vehicles (EVs) have currently only a very small market share and it is unclear when a mass market will emerge. As trade unions we are concerned that introducing targets which are hard to achieve could have a dramatic impact on the automotive industry and its workers. Plant closures and mass redundancies must be avoided.