Trade union leaflets passed off as official Dassault document to allege compulsory tie-up with Reliance

The attempt to weaken India’s defence capabilities by derailing the Rafale deal continues. As a part of spreading misinformation about the deal, today two documents are being circulated on social media. It has been claimed that these documents are official documents of Dassault Aviation and they confirm that the French aviation major was forced to tie up with Reliance in India as a pre-condition for getting the deal for 36 Rafale jets.

But that allegation seems totally false and baseless. Most important fact is that these are not official documents of Dassault Aviation. If you look at the documents, you can see that there are no logos of Dassault Aviation on them. In fact, these two documents are printed on letterheads of two different Trade Unions. Yes, these are trade union leaflets, not any official minutes of Dassault as it has been claimed.

The first trade union is CGT, Confédération générale du travail or General Confederation of Labour and the second document is from CFDT, Confédération française démocratique du travai or French Democratic Confederation of Labour. Both these labour unions are present among workers in Dassault Aviation.

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Headings of the two documents issued by trade unions CGT and CFDT

The documents published by both the unions are talking about a meeting the top management of Dassault Aviation held with the labour unions of the company on May 11, 2017. As these are not official minutes of the meeting but publication from labour unions, there are substantial differences between the two although they are talking about the same meeting.

CGT is an extreme left-wing organisation, and that is evident in their leaflet. The document says that the turnover of the company has increased by 5%, the company has made a good profit and has a good cash reserve, and its order book is full. Despite such good condition of the company, COO of the company Loïk Segalen has said that there will be “hiring freeze” in the company. According to the leaflet, Segalen had said that if required the company will use temporary labours and sub-contracts for meeting production goals. The document is extremely critical of the management of the company.

Then the document talks about the Dassault’s India business, saying that they were informed about the creation of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited by the management. It then says, ‘According to Mr Segalen, it was imperative and mandatory for Dassault-Aviation, to accept this counterpart, in order to obtain the export contract for Rafale’. Note here that the document does not say that Reliance was made mandatory for Dassault. It says Reliance tie-up is the result of a mandatory requirement.

It has been already clarified that Mr Segalen was talking about the offset obligation of the company when he was talking about what was ‘imperative and mandatory’ for the company. This offset policy has been imposed by the government of India and every defence supplier has to abide by it. To fulfil this obligation, Dassault has already partnered with around 100 companies in India, one of which is Reliance. As the Dassault-Reliance joint venture has already been set up and the company has already started production of parts for Falcon business jet, the official mentioned about the JV.

French labour unions are obviously protective of jobs in France, and they do not like French companies setting plants in other countries as they see it as job loss in France. That’s why CGT has issued this leaflet which is critical of the management of the company. But Dassault is obliged to set up plants in India as per India’s laws and that’s what Loïk Segalen explaining to the unions.

The document by the other union CFDT, makes it clear. It says that Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited has been set up as a result of Rafale India contract, which imposes a “Make in India” requirement. It then says that to fulfil this obligation, Dassault has set up a joint venture company with Reliance where Dassault has a share of 49% and the rest 51% share is held by Reliance.

The French government, the Indian government and Dassault Aviation have clarified is several times that Dassault is free to choose its offset partners in India. Only the offset clause is mandatory, how the company chooses to fulfil that is completely up to the company. The Dassault CEO also has clarified that the share of Dassault Reliance Aerospace in the deal will not be more than 10%. The claim of HAL being deprived also has been found to be false as the company is one of the offset partners.

But still, propaganda machinery continues its campaign against the deal using totally false and baseless allegations. This time they have passed of labour union leaflets as an official document of Dassault Aviation.


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