UK workers come to Paris to protest plant closure

24th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24, 2006 (AFP) - British employees of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen joined a demonstration outside company headquarters in Paris Wednesday against the planned closure of its Ryton plant with the loss of 2,300 jobs.

PARIS, May 24, 2006 (AFP) - British employees of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen joined a demonstration outside company headquarters in Paris Wednesday against the planned closure of its Ryton plant with the loss of 2,300 jobs.

Demonstrators booed and whistled at board-members and share-holders convening for the annual general meeting.

"The plant is profitable and flexible. But shareholders prefer to sacrifice our jobs for making money in eastern Europe," said Ryton employee Ralph Howson.

"It is a totally unacceptable decision when you think that PSA had profits of EUR 1 billion in 2005," said Bruno Lemerle of the French CGT union.

PSA announced the closure on April 18, citing poor competitivity and tough market conditions in Europe. Chief executive Jean-Martin Folz told share-holders that the decision had been difficult but inevitable.

"Even if we had made the considerable investment — more than 250 million euros — needed to turn Ryton into one of the group's modern production units, the site would have continued to suffer from major economic handicaps compared with our other sites in western Europe," he said.

Folz said that closure of the plant would be gradual and over a long period "in order to stagger job losses and make it easier to fine new ones.

"This weekend some 1,500 new jobs have been offered by local businesses to Ryton employees. And at the end of last week we asked for the first voluntary redundancies. In two days we received nearly two hundred names," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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