21 April 2006
AMSTERDAM — Only 370 of the 1,000 people scheduled to work turned up for their shift at the only major car assembly plant in the Netherlands on Friday morning.
There was some jeering but no physical confrontations as the minority crossed the picket line at the NedCar factory in Born. The assembly lines were kept running but production levels were far lower than normal.
NedCar, the only large-scale automobile producer in the Netherlands, started in August 1991 as a joint venture between Mitsubishi, Volvo and the Dutch State. It is currently 100 percent owned by Mitsubishi.
The assembly plant's future has been called into question by DaimlerChrysler's decision to halt production of the Smart ForFour there. This leaves NedCar with production of Mitsubishi's Colt, but there are no guarantees it will get the order to build the Colt's successor.
Talks between Mitsubishi and NedCar's management have failed to generate commitments about the future, though the Japanese firm said it would allow NedCar to seek a replacement for the ForFour.
The strike is intended to pressure Mitsubishi into guaranteeing the plant's future and to backtrack on its decision to cut one shift of 1,000 people due to the cancellation of the ForFour order.
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