‘Save Peugot Jobs!’ demanded over 400 French and British workers in Paris yesterday.
Peugot workers and a delegation of Renault workers from across France joined workers from Coventry to lobby the Peugot shareholders’ AGM.
A delegation of 20 Coventry workers had travelled to Paris to demand the Ryton plant stays open.
There were CGT trade union workers from Peugot plants at Rennes, Aulnay, Souchaux, Vesoul, Poissy and Mulhouse and a delegation from Renault’s Rueil plant
‘This is about workers losing their jobs and shareholders making profits at the expense of workers’, TGWU Coventry Regional Officer Des Quinn told a rally after lobbying shareholders.
He added: ‘If they can sack workers in Britain it will surely be a French or Spanish plant next to satisfy the people who don’t do the hard work.
‘Today is a tremendous show of solidarity from workers not only from England but from all over France.
‘We will fight for our jobs in Britain, France and Spain.
‘We are also able to announce a message of support from our comrades in Slovakia. We will not allow European workers to be exploited at the expense of our jobs.
‘We will not allow you to sell your cars throughout Europe, our message to shareholders is we are not prepared to allow our jobs to be exported east.’
Bruno Le Merle, CGT Soucheaux, told the rally: ‘We are here in international solidarity, this decision for us in sacking the English workers is unacceptable.
‘Peugot made one billion euros in 2005. They paid 300 million euros in dividends and at the same time lay off workers.
‘They are transferring production to where they make more profit. We have to act together to improve the situation of workers in all countries.’
European Metal Workers Federation General Secretary Peter Scherrer said: ‘We represent six million metal workers in Europe and I convey their solidarity.
‘You are not alone at Ryton. If you stand alone this trend will continue where they brutally close a factory with no consultation with the workers.
‘We have received support from the Slovak trade unions, they say this is unacceptable.
‘We will not allow one plant or workers to be played off against each other. With more actions, demonstrations and activities we hope we will prevent the closure of the plant.
‘This closure is only to make more profit – how much more do we have to give? We give our life, our family, and they kill it. This is a fight for our existence in Europe. Industrial jobs are vanishing, we have to fight this tendency. The EMF will continue to support your struggles.’
Jim O’Boyle, TGWU Convener at Ryton told the rally: ‘It’s an honour for Ryton workers to be greeted in this way this morning.
‘This is a fight that we take on together with all our fellow workers and trade unionists.’