PSA Peugeot Citroën says it is “surprised” by the relatively low number of workers at its British Peugeot 206 plant in Ryton who took part in a recent ballot for strike action over pay and has warned of the possible consequences of a stoppage.

“The 53.7% who have supported potential strike action represent only approximately 40% of employees eligible to vote,” the company said in a statement.

Trades unions negotiators will meet on Friday 31 January to consider their actions following the recent vote by the PSA employees in favour of strike action.

PSA Peugeot Citroen said it “took great care” when setting its final pay and conditions offer. The company believes it average 7.3% over two years, coupled with significant other benefits improvements, is fair, reasonable, competitive and sustainable.

The company is warning workers to think carefully before going out on strike.

“To embark on strike action at a time of considerable uncertainty in the world climate and the European automotive market would not be in the best interests of employees and would be seriously detrimental to the future investment and employment prospects at PSA Peugeot Citroën facilities in the UK,” the statement said.

“Union negotiators are therefore urged to consider very seriously the potential results that any strike action might have and to arrive at responsible decisions which will be in the best long-term interests of their members.”