The local member of parliament for Peugeot's UK plant has become involved after the company announced plans to axe the fourth shift.

According to the BBC website, Coventry North West MP Geoffrey Robinson is meeting the UK government's industry secretary after news that 700 jobs are going at the factory - the company is abolishing a complete shift at Ryton because of a downturn in the European car market.

Robinson has reportedly organised a meeting with Patricia Hewitt next week and wants more support for the car industry to help secure the future of the plant.

The BBC noted that Ryton was the only factory within the firm to operate on a four shift basis after an extra shift was introduced in December 2002 to help the plant launch two new models, the 206 SW and GTI 180, which are built only in the UK.

The new three shift system will become operational from June and the company reportedly began a 90-day consultation period with employee representatives on Thursday in an attempt to reduce the impact on the 700 workers affected.

The BBC said workers have fought hard to keep the shift, agreeing to take a wage cut last year to protect jobs.

Duncan Simpson from the Amicus union reportedly said the axing of the shift was a "real blow" to workers, but it was part of the agreement they signed up to.

According to the BBC, Peugeot said they will also provide support to staff in their search for alternative employment.