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Overcapacity claims Peugeot Citroen Paris plant amid worker fury

Overcapacity claims Peugeot Citroen Paris plant amid worker fury
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Car workers chanted their anger at the PSA Peugeot Citroen assembly line at Aulnay on the outskirts of Paris on Friday.

Amid falling new car sales and massive overcapacity in the industry, the last vehicle has just been produced there and many of the employees face an uncertain future.

The struggling French company believes it has found alternative jobs for most of them.

PSA’s Human Resources Director Philipp Dorge said: “We are redeploying 2,700 out of 3,000 people in what is a well established process that we take very seriously. Of that 2,700 only 700 still remain to be redeployed.”

The workers dispute those numbers.

The end of production follows months of confrontation between unions and management there.

Assembly line worker Francois Boethas accused the company’s chief executive Philippe Varin of lying: “Varin pretends 90 per cent of cases have been addressed, it’s entirely wrong, entirely wrong! There are still 1,000 of us in the factory, 2,000 have left. Out of the 2,000, only 700 have been given another a job within the company, and at least 600 have ended up at the job centre. So if that’s not a lie, what is it?”

The workers there continued their protests, even as the fight was over, but elsewhere a number of unions at Peugeot Citroen have just agreed to a wages freeze next year in return for a company pledge to keep plants open.

That is a sign that reality is taking hold as workers realise such collaborative deals are needed to save French jobs in an increasingly tough global economy.

The carmaker said the deal would save it 100 million euros a year thanks to trade union concessions on wages, holidays and more flexible working hours at dozens of plants in France.