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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Peugeot plant to close in January
Peugeot 206
The Ryton plant produces the Peugeot 206 model
The Peugeot plant in Ryton, Warwickshire, will close in January 2007, it has been announced.

It had been expected the plant, near Coventry, where the 206 is made, would close in the middle of next year.

The company announced plans to close the factory in April, with the loss of up to 2,300 jobs.

Unions have reacted angrily saying Peugeot had built up hope that work would be available until well into next year if people wanted it.

'Hopes dashed'

This is a further blow for the workers
Alan Durham, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
An emergency meeting will be held tomorrow to discuss the details.

"Peugeot built hopes up that there would be work well into next year if people wanted it," Dave Osborne of the Transport and General Workers' Union said.

"But they have dashed those hopes and, worse, denied our members the chance to look for work in the knowledge there was a reasonable income coming in.

"It is not the sort of pre-Christmas present anybody wants especially as the workforce has been loyal over many years. They deserve better," he added.

'Asked to leave'

In a statement Peugeot said almost a quarter of the remaining workforce had asked to leave the company during the past few weeks.

"Since moving to one shift in August the company has 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," it said.

Production has been reduced to 160 cars a day to provide enough flexibility for staff to leave when they wish, it added.

The statement also said it had a 5m centre dedicated to helping Ryton staff with more than 6,000 pre-qualified job opportunities available.

'Further blow'

Alan Durham, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, called it a further blow for the workers.

"They have been working towards a timescale but that has now been changed bringing closure forward and that will leave them less time to organise their already uncertain working future.

"While they knew it was coming eventually, having that period to make alternative plans was very helpful," he said.

Dr Brian Woods-Scawen, chair of the Peugeot Partnership, a group formed from councils and other agencies to deal with the job losses said: "We have been keeping a close eye on the situation since the closure was announced in April and the news is unfortunate, but it does not come as a big surprise.

High production costs

In April, Jean Martin Folz, chief executive of Peugeot Citroen, said a study showed Ryton had high production and logistical costs leading the company to decide to move production to Slovakia.

The news came as another large blow to the West Midlands car industry - nearly 6,000 jobs were lost last year at MG Rover in Longbridge, Birmingham.

And in 2004, up to 1,000 jobs were lost in Coventry when Jaguar moved production to Birmingham.

See reaction from the unions

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