Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peugeot Workers Protest Layoffs, Company Says Strikes Happen Every Month

Last summer, PSA Peugeot Citroen announced that it would close its Aulnay plant near Paris and slash 8,000 jobs in a cost-cutting effort to minimize its losses, which were €819 million (US$990 million) in the first month of 2012 alone.

Today, 300 of its workers belonging to the CGT, one of France’s more radical unions, went on strike at said plant. They may account for just 10 percent of the factory's 3,000-strong workforce, but they were able to “paralyze” the facility as most of them worked on production.

The strike comes just one day before Peugeot and the unions meet again to discuss how many employees will be laid off and what deal they will receive.

“Employees at PSA Aulnay refuse to accept being laid off without anything”, said the CGT. “The false negotiations begun in November give absolutely nothing at all, the management is refusing to address the demands of the employees. The striking workers demand that the management restart the negotiations from the beginning.”

Peugeot spokeswoman Anne-Laure Descleves commented that the union's strike once a month anyway and that the last one was slightly worse than the others but declined to comment on the negotiations.

Despite being in a better position, France's other major car company, Renault, announced on Tuesday that it would reduce its French workforce by 7,500 people in the next three years. The difference with Peugeot is that Renault will achieve its goal not by laying off employees but by offering early retirement packages and not replacing departing workers.

By Andrew Tsaousis
Story References: Detroit News
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