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Less Weekend Work in New Peugeot Deal

A new deal to avert strike action at Peugeot’s Ryton plant has been thrashed out between unions and management.

Talks continued until 10.30pm last night and the latest deal will be put to workers in a ballot, with papers going out in seven days.

Extra Friday night shifts for weekday staff and additional Mondays for weekend workers were the major sticking point in the disputes.

The number of compulsory Fridays will be brought down to nine per year - it was 15 and 20 under previous deals - and weekend staff will have to work every third Monday.

Talks started 10 months ago and there have already been three ballots, each one progressively seeing the staff more receptive to the latest deal. But all three were still rejected by workers who preferred strike action to signing new contracts.

The company is also set to give a bonus £100 ‘goodwill gesture’ if this deal is accepted. It will be valid until the end of 2001.

Staff returned to work this Monday after a three-week summer shutdown. Management pulled back from introducing new contracts that day to allow talks to start again.

They briefly started on Monday, but were adjourned to yesterday, when the latest deal was put together and was only finalised 12 hours ago.

A Peugeot spokesman said:

“We just hope we have answered all the unions queries and hope we get a positive response this time.

“There will be a 17 per cent pay increase for staff - it is not as if anyone is asking them to work extra hours for nothing.

“We hope that workers will accept this deal and the £100 payment is there as a goodwill gesture from the company.”

Ballot papers go out next Thursday (31 August) and have to be back by 6 September. The company has not set a date for the introduction of the new contracts, saying they are ‘in abeyance’ until the ballot result is known.

The new deal will cover a 16-month period. It also includes the reintroduction of the ‘Week 46’ agreement.

Historically, workers have had a week off in October which the company wanted to convert to an extra week’s holiday to be taken by workers when they wished.

The unions said staff would rather keep the fixed week off in Autumn, and that has been reinstated under the new deal. There have also been some minor changes to tea-breaks.

The 900 weekend workers on 'C' shift will have to work Mondays compulsorily, and they would be offered new full-time contracts for the first time.

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CWN / Motoring / Peugeot / 21 Aug 00
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