SOME 4,500 Peugeot workers are set to ballot for strike action in the new year after talks over the pay claim broke down. A series of one-day strikes are planned. The talks followed a 90 percent rejection of the company offer (worth 7.3 percent over two years) in a ballot. The company also wants the shopfloor to increase their pension contributions by 1 percent.
Workers are angry because the Coventry Ryton plant is the most profitable and productive Peugeot plant in Europe. Yet Peugeot workers are the worst paid in the British car industry. Despite massive profits over recent years they got only a 2.2 percent wage increase in January, and admission to the final salary pension scheme was closed for new starters in the summer.
Plans are in place for strikes - each of the four shifts will strike for one day each week, causing disruption throughout the week. One TGWU union steward told Socialist Worker, 'The company messed us about in the talks. We're convinced that the ballot result will show that the shopfloor are prepared to take the company on.'