FRANCE: PSA extends night shifts, union raises post-May queries
Recently launched Peugeot 5008 is larger, seven-seat sibling for five-seat 3008
Surging sales of PSA Peugeot Citroen's 3008 and 5008 family-haul models have resulted in the manufacturer extending night shifts at two of its French plants, although unions are querying a potential change in work patterns after that.
The shifts at PSA's Sochaux and Mulhouse factories in eastern France had been due to finish at the end of March, but much improved sales of the two models mean the shifts will be secure for at least two further months until late May.
"We originally intended to have two shifts wound down," a PSA spokesman told just-auto. "The 3008 and 5008 are going extremely well at the moment - it is a rare bit of good news for the industry."
PSA noted the scrappage scheme had been a success in France, particularly with the smaller 206+ variants, but the sales boost has really come with the newer 3008 and 5008 models: "These cars are ahead of forecast - [the] 3008 is 30% more than we forecast," noted the spokesman.
"The [five seat] 3008 is our first crossover, it has been a fantastic success for us," he added. "The [larger, seven seat] 5008 is being launched now and the interest in the car is significant.
But while expressing cautious optimism that night shifts were to be extended, one union closely involved in the Sochaux plant said it wanted more assurances on potential new shift patterns if work was to be extended even beyond the new date of end-May.
According to the Confederation General du Travail (CGT) union, there is a possibility that four-night working could be introduced at Sochaux beyond May for the extended shift in contrast to the full-time offer for the extra two months.
"Employees wanted to keep their hours for night work, which is higher [paid] than other shifts...we are trying to find a solution for this," CGT spokesman Bruno Lemerle told just-auto.
"We think there will be more discussions as the management project to make night shifts part time does not suit us - we have to find other solutions. Four nights per week [would present us with a pay problem]."
Lemerle added the CGT was waiting for PSA's decision and added, although both sides are currently not in discussions, that he expected talks to "start shortly."
However, a PSA spokesman in Paris told just-auto any decision on what would happen after May depended on the market situation. "Everything will depend on how the market is in Europe," he said, adding he did not know where the union information was coming from.
There was a "reflection," he added, on whether the night shift work could be adjusted by "adapting the number of nights" but he noted: "That is just a reflection. Nothing has been confirmed."