Peugeot Signs Deal With Unions To Boost Competitiveness

Peugeot Signs Deal With Unions To Boost Competitiveness

"The agreement's balanced efforts will help make us more competitive and contribute to improved profitability in Europe," CEO Philippe Varin said.

PARIS -- Troubled French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen today signed a deal with unions to limit wage hikes and increase flexibility as it seeks to restructure its operations in the face of a slump in European auto sales.

The deal will see no general wage hike next year, with a raise for the next year depending on an improvement in the company's performance.

In return, Peugeot (IW 1000/55) -- France's biggest carmaker and Europe's second-biggest after Volkswagen (IW 1000/7) -- pledged to increase output and assemble one new model at its five remaining French factories through 2016.

Peugeot shocked France in the middle of last year when it announced plans to cut 11,000 jobs between 2012 and 2014 and to shut its plant at Aulnay outside Paris as it attempted to come to grips with its overcapacity.

The Aulnay plant assembled its final car this week.

More Flexible Work Hours

The deal will also give the company greater flexibility over working hours.

"The agreement's balanced efforts will help make us more competitive and contribute to improved profitability in Europe," CEO Philippe Varin said.

The company suffered a loss of 5.0 billion euros ($6.7 billion) last year as car sales in Europe hover near 20-year lows, and the French government had to rescue its financing arm last year.

Peugeot said today that sales in the third quarter fell by 3.7% on a 12-month comparison to 12.1 billion euros, but the company and many other carmakers predict the European car market will begin to recover next year.

Part of Peugeot's restructuring has been an alliance with the U.S. group General Motors (IW 500/5), but there have been rumors that the French state and Chinese group Dongfeng may come in as shareholders to help boost the company.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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