French Prime Minister to meet Peugeot chief executive today

 
Kasmira Jefford
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FRENCH Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will meet Peugeot Citroen’s chief executive Philippe Varin today amid growing tensions between the car maker and the country’s new Socialist government.

The meeting comes ahead of a government rescue plan for the ailing car sector due next week.

Peugeot, which last week said it would cut 8,000 posts in France in an attempt to stem €200m (£156m) a month operating losses at its manufacturing division, has come under fire from the government over the job losses.

President Francois Hollande, who came to power in May with the promise to tackle unemployment and industrial decline, last week denounced Peugeot’s cost-cutting plan as “unacceptable” and called for it to be renegotiated.

Peugeot chairman Thierry Peugeot said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro that government criticism of the planned cutbacks have knocked investor confidence and left it exposed to hostile takeover bids.

Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, who has already met Varin and trade union representatives, is scheduled to meet Peugeot on Wednesday.