Two of Britain's largest trade unions have today launched a £1 million advertising campaign in an attempt to persuade PSA Peugeot Citroen to abandon plans to close its car factory in Ryton, near Coventry.
Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) have taken out full-page advertisements in today's Guardian and Mirror newspapers urging consumers not to purchase the company's Citreon and Peugeot models in light of the decision.
Peugeot announced in April that its Ryton factory would close in 2007 with the loss of 2,300 jobs. The company said that production would be transferred to Slovakia, claiming that manufacturing and transportation costs were higher in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.
Advertisements will also be carried in further titles and on billboards close to Peugeot dealerships, in an attempt to raise public awareness about the loss of British manufacturing jobs to lower-wage economies overseas.
Featuring the St George cross and the slogan "think of England", the ad campaign is designed to play upon heightened patriotic feeling within the country at the start of England's World Cup efforts.
The move comes despite the earlier decision by workers at the Ryton plant to reject strike action in a ballot of union members.
Meanwhile prime minister Tony Blair has urged Peugeot to consider a rescue plan proposed by unions to keep the factory open.
Commenting on the ad campaign to persuade the British public to boycott Peugeot, Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson said: "The message must be that if you want to sell in Britain then you need to build in Britain or employ people in Britain in the case of service industries.
"This is not just about a particular company, Peugeot or any other, it is about a strategy that aims to defend UK workers and UK jobs."
But a spokesman for PSA Peugeot Citroen said the company saw no "legitimate reason" for the action.
"Our whole approach to dealing with this has been very mindful of the sensitivities in what is a very difficult time for our employees, in no way is this rubbing people's noses in it," said spokesman John Goodman.
"I fail to see any legitimate reason for this action against a Coventry business."