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Peugeot Citroen workers protest ahead of talks

PARIS -- Autoworkers from a Peugeot plant slated to close demonstrated Thursday in front of the PSA Peugeot Citroen headquarters, hours ahead of a meeting planned among company executives, unions and the French government.

On Wednesday, the French government offered a (EURO)7 billion ($9.1 billion) lifeline in loan guarantees but demanded more influence in the company's decision-making.

Philippe Varin, the Peugeot Citroen chief executive, told the television network RTL that the Aulnay factory needed to close. The company, which plans to cut 8,000 jobs in France overall, has seen sales slip and shares plummet.

Varin insisted the government would not make decisions for Peugeot.

Jean-Pierre Mercier, a union leader, said Peugeot had agreed to talks with worker representatives ahead of any layoffs.

"The fight is going to be extremely long," Mercier said.