Managers at the
Peugeot plant at Ryton have been stunned by a union vote where workers rejected a deal
that would have given them a shorter working week.
A ballot result announced yesterday showed that 59 per cent of those who voted were
against the new deal.
Peugeot still intends to issue the new contracts, to be effective from mid-August,
despite the result.
The company pointed out that only 77 per cent of the staff voted, lower than management
or unions expected. Company bosses and union leaders are meeting tomorrow to work out a
A Peugeot spokesman said:
"We are obviously extremely disappointed that this action has been taken. We were
asked by the staff to look at working hours and have come up with these ideas.
"It is a very strange position where people could be going out on strike because
they are being asked to work less hours!"
Just under 3,000 staff work at the Ryton plant on the 206 model.
Despite problems at other car plants across the country, business at Ryton is booming
with extra shifts to meet demand.
The company said staff would work 36.75 hours a week, or 35 hours excluding meal
breaks, under the new deal.
The weekend teams would have to start working every third Monday, but overall the
number of hours worked would fall.
Extra staff taken on last year would have the new contracts and be confirmed as
permanent staff which management said they thought would be welcomed.
Union teams were locked in meetings today and are not expected to comment further ahead
of tomorrows meeting.