The plant's labor union isn't taking kindly to Daimler's offer, though. "It's a way to freeze wages without any guarantees in return," union representative Patrick Hoszkowicz said to Bloomberg. One problem is that the six-euro raise during the four extra hours per week is less than France's 9.61-euro ($10.75) minimum wage. A spokesperson for the automaker countered in the report that the changes increase "competitiveness to ensure viability."
The outcome of the deal could have major effects for Daimler because the Hambach plant is a major production hub for Smart. The automaker spent millions of euros there in 2009 for the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. The factory then received another 200 million euro investment in 2013 to prepare for the brand's latest minicar models.
While a 35-hour week might sound like a dream to many Americans, it's not even truly the norm in France. According to Bloomberg citing Eurostat data, the average full-time worker there is actually on the job 40.5 hours weekly, an hour less than Europe as a whole.