PSA Peugeot Citroen has made the decision based on the number of employees telling the company they ‘want out’.
A quarter of workers have asked the leave the company, PSA says in the ‘past few weeks’. It had originally said production would end in July 2007. Trade unions Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union had predicted the plant would close earlier.
In a statement today the company said: “Since moving to one shift in August, we have received an increasing number of requests to leave from employees wishing to start new jobs and the rate of these requests is accelerating. This situation has prompted the group to review the timing of the end of activity at Ryton.
"In conjunction with the Government and local agencies comprising the Peugeot Partnership, the company’s £5 million resource centre dedicated to helping staff at Ryton currently has more than 6,000 pre-qualified job opportunities available. In addition PSA Peugeot Citroen itself has a further 100 redeployment opportunities within the Coventry area. The resource centre will continue to operate as long as necessary."
The T&GWU has accused PSA of "callous cynicism" today claiming it had accelerated the closure.
Dave Osborne, T&G national secretary for the car industry, said the company told union officials the plant will close on January 8, 2007.
"Peugeot has confirmed their reputation of callous cynicism with this news,” he continued. “How can they expect customer loyalty when they treat people this way? They can’t."
Osborne said Peugeot managers broke the news to union officials ahead of the announcement to the workers in the plant this afternoon. He said the unions planned an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the details.
Production at Ryton has already been reduced to 160 cars per day to allow for staff reductions.