Anger over Peugeot's French jobs cuts

Union says 5,000 French citizens out of 6,000 workers across Europe to be hit, a higher proportion than earlier thought.

    Peugeot warned last month that its core car manufacturing business would barely make money this year [EPA]

    French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is planning to cut 5,000 jobs in its home market, an official from the CGT union has said.

    The figure suggests a far higher proportion of layoffs in the company's home country than previously disclosed.

    Last month, Peugeot warned its core car manufacturing business would barely make money this year and announced 6,000 job cuts across Europe, including 1,000 manufacturing jobs and 2,500 contractor positions.

    Jean-Pierre Mercier, a union representative at Peugeot's factory in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint Denis, said 1,900 French manufacturing jobs would be shed, while another 3,100 jobs in sales, information technology and research and development would also be cut.

    "The group's international development can't be carried out by cutting our jobs here given that we're the ones who created
    PSA's wealth," Mercier said on Tuesday on the sidelines of a works council meeting.

    Hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the meeting, which took place at at Peugeot's Paris headquarters near the Arc de Triomphe. 

    Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Paris, said the planned layoffs come at a time when the French are anxious about the impact of widespread austerity measures.

    "People in France can see the very serious problems in Greece and Italy, and they're very anxious that their country shouldn't end up in the same situation yet on the other hand many people are reluctant to have to take this rather unpalatable economic medicine, which the government is doling out," she said.

    "There's a popular feeling here that this is a crisis that has been generated by the greed of banks; of companies trying to satisfy shareholders." 

    Officials declined to comment on the cuts, but Peugeot has previosuly said that no full-time workers in France would be laid off.

    Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Party presidential candidate, issued a statement blaming credit ratings agencies for the decision, noting that Moody's had recently lowered Peugeot's credit rating to negative.

    "The result [of Moody's decision]: even though the company's profits rose 18 per cent in the first half of 2011, the owner throws thousands of workers into the streets to 'reassure the markets'," said Melenchon.

    Melenchon's party is politically to the left of the main opposition Socialist Party. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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