Pleas to Peugeot's UK management and the government have failed so now workers at PSA Peugeot Citroen's doomed plant in Ryton have taken their protests against the planned 2007 closure to the car maker's annual shareholder meeting in Paris.

Bearing banners and handing out leaflets, several tens of the workers tried to make their case in Paris to arriving investors in Peugeot which plans to close the plant - employing 2,300 people - next year because new investment there would be uneconomical, according to a Reuters report.

There reportedly were some scuffles as security guards tried to keep the workers away from the entrance as frail and elderly shareholders made their way to the meeting hall.

The report said the British Transport and General Workers Union and Amicus union called, in pamphlets, for the shareholders to use their influence to convince the management board to reverse its decision.

Reuters noted that PSA, which has been battling with sluggish sales at its main markets in western Europe, said last month it could no longer afford to carry on investing in the Ryton plant near Coventry due to high costs.

"It is obvious that this disastrous decision needs to be revoked in order to avoid a very punishing conflict as well as an erosion of sales and profits at Peugeot Citroen in the United Kingdom," the unions reportedly said.

PSA is in talks with staff representatives to come up with a social plan to accompany the closure, Reuters added.

"The group will respect its social, legal and human obligations. We will do the maximum that as many of the workers as possible can find a new job," chairman Thierry Peugeot told the shareholder meeting.

That is unlikely to sooth the Ryton workers. Recent reports in the UK have said that not all the 6,500 axed from MG Rover when it collapsed have found new employment and some of those that have are in jobs requiring fewer of their skills, and being paid less.

Reuters added that PSA has said Ryton's distance from suppliers on the European mainland means its costs are higher than those of any other plant in the car maker's group.

Modernising the factory to enable it to build a new model would cost EUR250m (GBP170.6m) and closing the plant was the only viable economic decision, PSA said.