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Managers To Try And Talk Away Strike Threat

Work will stop at the Peugeot Ryton plant on Thursday and Friday as management explains the new contracts to staff.

It is a last-ditch effort to try and persuade the workforce to back the new deal on offer, ahead of a strike ballot.

The previous deal was rejected, with 58 per cent of workers who voted preferring to stop work rather than sign the new contracts.

The sticking points were extra Friday nights that weekday workers could be made to work and extra Mondays for weekend staff. Workers say they could end up working 46-hour weeks.

Unions, who recommended approval of the first deal, are now behind their staff in opposing the contracts, but a new ballot is underway with the new management offer.

Chris Edwards, Peugeot spokesman, said the company has written to staff on several occasions to explain the deal and the latest revisions.

That would mean fewer compulsory Friday nights for weekday staff, fewer compulsory Mondays for weekend staff, and the extra shifts would be paid at 50 per cent over the base wage figure, and an extra £6 flat payment on top.

Supervisors will be talking to the three shifts over the next two days to explain the latest revisions.

Production will stop while staff get to hear why management say they should accept the deal, and workers have the chance to ask questions.

Mr Edwards said:

“There are significant new proposals and this is part of the process to make sure that everybody understands all the new strands.

“It is a chance to explain, and for people to ask questions. It will go on as long as it takes.

“There has been an open dialogue and we have tried to understand the concerns of the workforce.

“This is a radical change and we have been sympathetic to their concerns. We have worked for a long time to get this far and we had the support of the unions. We were shocked and disappointed at the last ballot result.”

The company said Ryton has been working well and is obviously to keen to avoid industrial action:

“This has been a success story and we have had exceptional results and we want that to continue for everyone.”

If the workforces uphold their decision for industrial action, there could be one-day strikes in the last few days of July, and an all-out stoppage from 21 August - the day the new contracts should come into effect.

The ballot will take place over the next week, and the result is expected on 26 July.
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CWN / Motoring / Peugeot / 19 Jul 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM