Last remaining supplier of Volvo Car Gent loses contract


Ties are being cut between Volvo Gent and its suppliers by the parent company in Sweden, which is looking to save money by working with overseas suppliers

Unions consider actions

All five of Volvo Gent’s suppliers have been told they have lost their contracts with the automobile constructor. The fifth, Benteler Automotive, which makes axles and shock absorbers, was given the news on Monday. The other four were informed last week.

Unions fear the loss of nearly 900 jobs, 220 of them at Benteler alone. Volvo has said it will not take in any of the employees of suppliers. “This is terrible news because we have no alternatives,” said Marc Staelens of the socialist union ABVV.

Staelens accused the company of a lack of respect. “When you see what investments have been made by the suppliers – that’s only because they believed in their client.”

Co-operation with the suppliers will be built down between 2017 and 2019, with some supplies thereafter being sourced overseas. Volvo Cars Gent declined to comment, pointing out that the talks with suppliers are being carried out by the parent company in Sweden.

Two companies, Benteler and Tower Automotive, will be looking for new customers. “They seem to be seriously looking for alternatives,” said Danny Clevers of the ACV-CSC Metea union. “We think that only those two have any hope of finding alternatives. For the others, the end will probably come in 2019.”

The unions are considering actions. “There’s no telling what the workers might do,” Clevers told VRT. “There’s a feeling of anger, but also frustration and resignation after months of uncertainty.” 

Volvo Ghent

The Ghent assembling unit of the Swedish car and truck manufacturer Volvo is the largest automobile plant in Belgium. A new Volvo factory in China, removal of production lines and a lack of innovation investments have recently cast a dark cloud over the plant’s future.
Last one - When Ford Genk closes at the end of 2014, Volvo Ghent will be the only remaining car manufacturing plant in Flanders.
Amazon - The Volvo Amazon was the first ever model produced in the Ghent plant.
Largest - With a production of 250,000 cars, the Ghent-based assembling affiliate was the largest Volvo plant in 2013.
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