Peugeot unions agree early exit from French car plant

PARIS Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:58am EST

A company logo is seen on a Peugeot car parked in Paris, February 12, 2013. French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is due to post its 2012 results on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A company logo is seen on a Peugeot car parked in Paris, February 12, 2013. French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is due to post its 2012 results on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - PSA Peugeot Citroen unions agreed to the start of worker transfers from the French carmaker's Aulnay plant, due to close next year, effectively beginning the wind-down of the site ahead of schedule.

The Peugeot works council approved the transfers at a meeting on Friday, a company spokesman said. "There is a consensus on these measures between management and the majority of unions."

Under Peugeot's restructuring plan, which is cutting 8,000 jobs nationwide, half of Aulnay's 3,000 workforce is set to be transferred to another plant in the Paris region before the site's closure in 2014.

The transfers to the Poissy site, west of the capital, can now begin immediately, cutting Aulnay to one factory shift from two.

The early departures were backed by the CFDT, CFTC, CGC, FO and SIA unions, with only the increasingly isolated CGT voting against, workers' representatives said.

Despite the progress towards closing Aulnay, Peugeot's broader restructuring faces possible delays resulting from a successful court challenge by the CGT.

The decision on transfers comes amid escalating tension between strikers and staff still reporting for duty at the factory north of Paris.

The French government named a mediator on Thursday to broker talks at Aulnay as the mood worsened.

Production has been close to a standstill since the leftwing CGT union called a strike last month to protest against the closure and job cuts across France.

The appointment of a mediator illustrates the growing involvement of President Francois Hollande's Socialist government in industrial disputes, as it struggles to stop job losses in a series of plant shutdowns while spurring a return to economic competitiveness.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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