UNIONS are seeking urgent talks with car giant Peugeot over its plan to axe 850 jobs at its main UK factory.

Peugeot said it would do everything it could to lesson the impact of the cuts at its Ryton, Coventry, site which has about 2,800 workers.

A shift which runs from Friday to Sunday is to be axed in the summer as the French-owned company moves to adjust its output to market demand.

Ryton produces the Peugeot 206 and last year built about 180,000 vehicles, 60% for export.

A spokeswoman for the Transport and General Workers' Union said many of the jobs would be shed through voluntary redundancies and contracts not being renewed.

"While the job losses are bad enough, the major issue is Peugeot's failure to highlight a new model for the 206," she added.

She said the union wanted to secure a long-term future for the plant.

Dave Osborne, the TGWU's national officer, said: "It is a double blow, following a cut last year from four to three shifts."

Peugeot said: "Ryton will continue to be one of the three production sites for the Peugeot 206 in Europe and will play a key role in the company's manufacturing strategy."