Peugeot plans France, UK cuts

French carmaker PSA said it plans to eliminate 1,300 French jobs in 2018 using a new form of voluntary cuts introduced by president Emmanuel Macron.

It comes as the UK government said it was is in contact with Peugeot’s British brand Vauxhall over previously-announced job cuts at its north of England Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool after the French car maker announced a further 250 roles will go, British prime minister Theresa May’s spokesman said.

In France, the job cuts are part of 2,200 voluntary job cuts planned this year, down from 2,670 in 2017, a company spokesman said, confirming comments by a representative of France’s CFTC union.

The figure excludes thousands of new hires and job eliminations by attrition.

The Peugeot maker is among a first handful of companies to make use of the new flexible labour measures introduced by decree within months of Macron’s election last May.

French unions have criticised the so-called collective contractual termination agreements, which let companies negotiate layoffs without having to prove they are in financial difficulties.

Clothes retailer Pimkie is seeking union approval to cut 208 jobs under the new measures.

Besides the voluntary job cuts at PSA, the Paris-based carmaker aims to hire 1,300 workers on permanent French contracts in 2018 along with 2,000 younger staff on internships or time-limited work-study contracts.

“The number of new hires and voluntary outplacements will therefore be balanced,” the company said in a statement.

On the planned UK job cuts, May’s spokesman said: “We are engaging with Vauxhall throughout the process. We have been doing so and will continue to do so.”

“They are now in a period of consultation. We fully appreciate that it will be a concerning time for the factory’s workers as well as the supply chain and we, as ever, stand ready to support those affected,” he said.

Peugeot-maker PSA said in recent days it would make more redundancies at the Ellesmere Port plant, reducing the workforce by a third as part of efforts to make it more efficient.

Peugeot shares which rose about 1% in the recent session have climbed 12% from this time last year.

Its strong sales in Europe have been boosted by sales of its Citroen SUVs, and by its Peugeot nameplate.

Its sales in China have lagged some of its rivals.

- Reuters and staff of Irish Examiner

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