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:( Workers at the smart plant in Hambach, France went out on strike last week. The article below has been computer-translated from French:

' METZ, 8 Oct 2007 (AFP) - 19h02 Smart again in strike Monday after the negotiations "unsatisfactory" (unions)

The workers of the factory Smart of Hambach (Moselle), in strike since Thursday, followed the movement Monday, the direction suggestions having been judged "unsatisfactory" by the strikers, one has learn from union source. "The direction proposed 3% of increase, instead of 2% previously, with 80 Euros of more for the frameworks, 70 Euros for the technicians and 50 for the workers", explained John Luc Bielitz, union delegate CGT with smart-france. "When one knows that the frameworks did not follow the movement that two hours Thursday and that 90% of the strikers are workers, one understands that the direction wants to sow ill-feeling", it followed. The negotiations continue nevertheless with the direction, even if this one tries, according to the delegate, of "to play the watch" for "to irritate the troops" and "to pull to the maxima the negotiations towards the bottom". Joined by the AFP, the direction confirmed that of the negotiations were in course, without specifying the nature of its last suggestions. In strike since Thursday, 270 of the 400 workers claim from the increases of net salaries of 110 to 150 Euros a month when the direction proposed for them even then 40 crude Euros. The 130 workers non-strikers are interim, according to the delegate CGT. The unions ask equally hires it of 40 interim or FIXED-TERM CONTRACT, that compose sometimes until 40% of the chain of production, but the direction envisions only 25. In reaction, the strikers blocked Thursday the access to the site for the trucks delivering wheels to Smart. Since Monday, they block equally the convoys intend for the affiliates and subcontracting situated group to Hambach. The unions amount to 1,400 cars the losses of production since the movement beginning. The site of Hambach clothes a strategic interest for Smart, for the ForTwo - second declination of the small one two places - that there is produced must allow the brand to return in the green after eight years of heavy losses. The ForTwo go out in 2008 to the United States where she already was the object of 30,000 ************, revealed at the beginning of October Dieter Zetsche, the employer of DaimlerChrysler, of which Smart is an affiliate.''
:mad:
 

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Ugh! Hope this does not threaten the viability of the smart division of Daimler. Just when we have a chance of seeing the smart here in USA.
 

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Looks like it'll be even longer until we get our decoder rings! At least we can't blame this one on Penske.
 

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Smartville" plant in Hambach since the inception.

Correct we can't blame Penske.

Many including smart executives say the French smart plant (Smartville" plant in Hambach) have been an encumbrance. Lengthy mandatory vacations, substantial subsidy packages, strikes constantly looming and poor work ethics could always add delays for the importation of smart for the USA. To many, it is a ridiculous region to manufacture cars.
However, I thought the idea of the car was better quality?

Move the plant to the U.S. and find a factory and still have unions. I estimate this could be done in less than 5 years and raise the cost 20%?
 

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French workers = an oxymoron

I'm sure EU politics dictated the strange choice of a MB factory in France.
 

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At ease and stay calm. I've owned two Renaults and one Peugot, all trouble free. I flipped the Peugot at 65 mph three times falling asleep at the wheel. Not a scratch on me, and all four doors still opened and closed!
 

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Correct we can't blame Penske.

Move the plant to the U.S. and find a factory and still have unions. I estimate this could be done in less than 5 years and raise the cost 20%?
Most new car plants in the U.S. get built in non-union states. Wine drinking is not usually tolerated at lunchtime either.
 

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Yea, I'd like to see the Smart plant come to the US. It's actually not out of the question: if demand really gets going it could actually be economical to open a small plant in the US. That's what Hyundai did, although theirs is huge. The workers would be union but our unions (even the UAW) aren't nearly as bad as France's.
 

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GOOD NEWS it may not impact us or the launch.

Good news is this is what I recieved from smartusa at 10/09/07 05:15pm

Dear smart Enthusiast, Thank you for your interest in smart USA. We are aware of the strike in Hambach, France. At this time, there is no indication that it will impact the launch of the smart fortwo in the United States. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us via email or by phone at 1.800.smartusa. Thank you for your interest in smart USA. You will be hearing from us soon! Jamilette Serna Customer Service 1.800.smartusa www.smartusa.com
 

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France is somewhat like New York City----workers are always threatening to go on strike, and do quite often. When I was over there in the 90s even the farmers would go on strike. If the smartie is as successful here as we hope, I expect to see a plant built in either the southern USA or Mexico, especially with the dollar taking a beating versus the euro. European auto manufacturers have also been moving production to eastern europe to take advantage of lower wages and increased work ethic (hunger). W. European auto workers make about $35/hr for assembly, work 29 hrs/week (and its actually against the law in France to work overtime!!!), get a mandatory 6 weeks of vacation, and have pensions and health care unimaginable in this country. This is One reason why the smartie is expensive )(and BMW and MB too.) On the plus side, the smartie only requires 3.5 hrs assembly (versus about 20.5 for most toyota,gm cars , ford etc). All said, we can only hope the strike is resolved quickly.........
 

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I spend quite a bit of time in France and my observation is that most strikes last no longer than a day or so. A strike of a week, I think, would have made headlines over thee and I have not seen anything on French news about it. Strikes are no biggie over there
 
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