BERLIN European worker representatives of German industrial gases group Linde (LING.DE) are opposed to a merger with U.S. rival Praxair (PX.N) and want labor members of the supervisory board to vote against the deal, a letter seen by Reuters shows.
The German and U.S. industrial-gases groups are working to finalize terms of a merger that would create a $30 billion market leader and target $1 billion in synergies.
According to a letter from the European works council to staff, the merger could lead to a big loss of jobs in some European countries, destroying the Linde brand. The letter was first reported on Wednesday by the Handelsblatt newspaper.
"As an independent and economically sound company, Linde is in an excellent position. We do not need restructuring ... Linde does not need Praxair!" the letter read.
"We call upon the employee representatives inthe supervisory board to stand up for Linde’s independence and to vote against the merger with Praxair."
Labor representatives could block the deal if they were to win the support of any other board members.
Linde's CEO said earlier this month he would not push through a deal against the will of Linde's workers, but he was confident of winning them over.
Praxair has provided new assurances to Linde over jobs and corporate governance in Germany after a previous attempt to agree a merger foundered over those issues.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alexander Smith)