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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 19:45 GMT
Final car rolls off Ryton's line
The last Peugeot at Ryton
Workers surround the last Peugeot 206 to come off the Ryton line
The final car has rolled off the production line at Peugeot's Ryton Plant near Coventry marking the end of 60 years of car making at the site.

The plant closes in January with the loss of 2,300 jobs as production of the 206 is moved to Slovakia.

The final car, a grey 206 model, came off the line during the afternoon.

Union leaders have bitterly opposed the decision to close the plant. The firm said everything possible had been done to help workers to find new jobs.

'Tears in eyes'

The mood was sombre as the final shift clocked off on Tuesday afternoon.

One man leaving said there had been a bit of a party atmosphere when they clocked on at 0600 GMT.

"But as the day went on you could see tears in the girls' eyes and by midday there were tears in the guys' eyes too," he said.

Peugeot 206

Many of the employees have already found work with others going onto training schemes. A small number of staff will be back at work next month to decommission the site.

The company said it had studied a union plan aimed at saving Ryton, but said it was not viable because it would cost an extra 70m a year to build a new model there compared with Slovakia.

In a final message to workers Jim O'Boyle, the Transport and General Workers Union's convener at Ryton, said: "We all know the sense of anger and betrayal many of you felt following the announcement of the closure.

"This was compounded by the company's callous decision to bring forward the closure to Christmas, in direct contradiction of the promise they made to maintain production at Ryton until mid-2007."

We can never forgive the company for the damage they have inflicted on you, your families and your communities
Jim O'Boyle, the Transport and General Workers Union's

He said the company had remained "impervious" to calls for a reversal of the closure or for compensation for the early shut down.

"This response from the company has hurt everybody deeply.

"We can never forgive the company for the damage they have inflicted on you, your families and your communities," he said.

Help with training

A company spokesman said a total of 6,000 job opportunities had been offered to workers and there were still 70 jobs within the company in Coventry that had not been taken up.

"Throughout this difficult period the group has made every effort to support its employees," the firm said in a statement.

"Every worker leaves with an industry-leading redundancy package of between one and three years' salary and comprehensive support has been in place to help employees find new jobs."

More than 1.3 million Peugeot 206 models have been built at Ryton since 1998, with more than four million cars produced since the plant opened in 1940.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Workers give their reaction to the closure



SEE ALSO
Peugeot redundancy pay criticised
01 Dec 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Peugeot plant to close in January
10 Oct 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Peugeot protest at Labour meeting
26 Sep 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
2,300 jobs go in Peugeot closure
18 Apr 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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