Last week, 107 MPs published an open letter in The Times calling on Peugeot to reconsider its closure plan for Ryton, its assembly plant in Coventry. And in another letter, union representatives urged residents of Greater London to “think of how Peugeot-Citroën has treated its workers in the UK so shamefully”.
The union has also organized demonstrations at Peugeot-owned dealerships, designed to attract attention to their cause. Workers descended on a Warwick Wright Motors dealership in London and Beechwood Motors in Coventry, in order to make the public more aware of Peugeot’s decision to relocate its factory to Slovakia.
A spokesman for the French manufacturer says that this has had “no effect whatsoever” on sales. Though Ryton workers voted not to take industrial action, Jim O’Boyle, T&G convenor for the plant, says this isn’t a “yardstick” of general feeling.
“No one has said to me that the campaign is wrong,” he says. “People have supported us, both from inside the plant and from outside.”
The T&G’s wants Peugeot to recognize that it has breached workers’ rights by not discussing alternatives to the closure.
“Unless the company sits down and properly engages with the trade unions to discussing our alternative, and we can get a full disclosure from them, this campaign will continue,” he says.
Peugeot refutes this claim. “The union’s plans were given due consideration at the highest level,” says Jon Goodman, director of corporate communications at PSA Peugeot-Citroën. “We sent them a 38-page response stating that the plans were not financially viable."