* Auto workers stage protests at planned cuts
* Peugeot plan suspended by court
* Renault CEO Ghosn under pressure on pay
By Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost
PARIS, Jan 29 Labour tensions at France's car
makers took a turn for the worse on Tuesday as Renault
factory workers protested over planned cuts and PSA Peugeot
Citroen's restructuring plan suffered a legal setback.
While Renault staff demonstrated at the company's Flins
plant west of Paris and Peugeot workers marched on the company's
Paris headquarters, the car makers pursued union talks on plans
to improve productivity and eliminate close to 8,000 jobs each.
"As things stand now, the conditions are unacceptable," CFDT
union chief Laurent Berger said of Renault's proposals for a new
nationwide labour deal.
Peugeot, the car maker worst hit by Europe's deep auto sales
slump, is struggling to shed costs and lift sales in its effort
to return to profit in 2015. Renault, while cushioned by
earnings from its Dacia low-cost cars and a 43.4 percent stake
in Japan's Nissan, is also grappling with industrial
overcapacity as sales of French-built models plunge.
The CFDT, France's biggest private-sector union, also
increased pressure on Renault boss Carlos Ghosn by echoing calls
from within President Francois Hollande's socialist government
for a cut to the chief executive's salary.
"Workers can't be asked to make sacrifices unless the CEO is
asked to make sacrifices," Berger said on BFM Television.
The government, Renault's biggest shareholder with a 15
percent stake, attempted to trim Ghosn's pay at a board meeting
in December, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in a Monday
radio interview, without giving details.
Ghosn earned 2.79 million euros ($3.76 million) from Renault
in 2011 and 9.92 million from Nissan in its corresponding
financial year, making him one of the highest-paid CEOs in
France or Japan.
About 500 workers staged a protest in front of Renault's
Flins plant, where production of the Clio has dwindled as more
of the sub-compact vehicles are assembled in Turkey.
Renault is cutting 7,500 jobs over three years without
compulsory redundancies and is demanding union concessions on
pay, flexibility and working hours in return for guarantees to
keep French plants open.
Unions, meanwhile, are demanding firm commitments on
production volumes in France as part of any deal.
Peugeot's plan to close a plant and eliminate 8,000
positions across France faces possible delays after the Paris
Appeals Court ordered a temporary halt to the restructuring to
allow additional consultations with workers.
At the Peugeot Aulnay plant, earmarked for closure in 2014,
production of C3 sub-compacts continued at a trickle amid
Workers from the plant, which reopened on Monday after a
strike and 10-day closure this month, were called upon by the
CGT union to march on Peugeot's Paris headquarters.
Negotiations on the cuts continued on Tuesday, but final
implementation must now wait until Peugeot also completes formal
talks ordered by the court at two sites belonging to parts
The CGT union had challenged the plan by arguing that
Peugeot had failed to consult workers at two Faurecia sites that
would be affected directly.
"It's a restructuring that has an impact on Faurecia's
activities," CGT lawyer Fiodor Rilov said. "As a result,
workers' representatives have to be informed and consulted."
Peugeot shares were down 1 percent at 6.24 euros at 1408
GMT, wiping out a gain of about 1 percent before publication of
the court ruling. Renault was up 1.7 percent at 44.75 euros.
Peugeot insisted that talks on the cutbacks were proceeding
normally on Tuesday and will continue for two more scheduled
sessions on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12.
"The negotiations are not suspended and will continue to
make progress," a company spokesman said. He gave no new time
frame for implementation, which the company had aimed to begin
in February or March.
($1 = 0.7429 euros)
(Additional reporting by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by David