French PM gets job cuts pledge from Peugeot

 
Ben Southwood
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PEUGEOT Citroen pledged not to make any forced redundancies in its plans to cut eight per cent of its French workforce, after a meeting with PM Jean-Marc Ayrault yesterday.

It intends to cut 8,000 jobs, principally through closing its Aulnay plant near Paris, but socialist President Francois Hollande described the job losses as “unacceptable”.

Philippe Varin, chairman of the French behemoth, pledged that the firm would do its utmost to cushion the blow for workers – this may include reducing job numbers through attrition or reassignment.

Meanwhile, the French firm also announced plans of a partnership in light commercial vehicles with the world’s largest carmaker, Toyota, replacing a similar scheme with Fiat.

The partnership will be rolled out from the second quarter of 2013, when Peugeot Citroen will begin to supply Toyota with medium size vans, similar to the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Jumpy brands. Toyota told City A.M. that purchases were planned to be around 5,000 to 10,000 per year to begin with.

Peugeot Citroen plans to build the vans at its troubled Sevelnord plant, but has threatened to move production to Vigo if unions cannot agree to a pay freeze, combined with reduced leave, job cuts and more flexible hours. The firm also seeks support in the form of tax breaks, from national or regional government, in order to help keep the plant competitive.