France's economics minister has summoned PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO, Philippe Varin, to his Paris office early this evening (18 July) with the automaker revealing it is burning US$245m in cash per month.

Arnaud Montebourg has asked Varin to attend the Hotel des Ministres following his meeting with anxious PSA unions last night in the French capital and as the political temperature hots up in Paris following the manufacturer's seismic announcment of huge lay-offs.

It is clear the newly-elected French government is taking PSA's decision to axe up to 8,000 posts very seriously, coming as it does just two months after presidential and legislative elections and as unions nervously eye other automakers' potential plans to address over-capacity.

French president, Francois Hollande, has given Montebourg the task of mediating between PSA and its unions, branding the automaker's drastic pruning as a "shock" and insisting he will not accept the plan in its current state.

"It will be only the two - M. Varin and M. Montebourg - a tête a tête," a spokeswoman for Montebourg told just-auto from Paris. "We have no elements [of the meeting] at the moment.

"We have said one hour for the meeting [18:30 Paris time] but it could last a bit more."

The European Commission has also waded into the jobs row in France, telling just-auto today (18 July) it was prepared to talk to the French government about financial aid for the redundant workers.

France must first approach Brussels to request such monetary help and provided the EC agrees to the areas where it can be used, the government can be reimbursed for helping redundant workers in the form of training, job skills or entrepreneurship.

PSA has been burning US$245m a month in cash since the middle of last year.