UK trade unions are launching a £1 million ($1.8m; €1.4m) advertising campaign to persuade car buyers to boycott French automaker Peugeot Citroën.

Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union hope to force the company to reverse its British plant closure plans. The company's main factory, at Ryton in the Midlands, is due to cut half its 2,300 workforce next month before shutting down next year.

The unions have a rescue proposal which they want Peugeot to consider, and which is reported to have the backing of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Says Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson: "The message must be that if you want to sell in Britain then you need to build in Britain or, in the case of service industries, employ people in Britain."

Adds Tony Woodley, TGWU general secretary: "The unions have produced a robust plan that could provide a profitable future for the Ryton plant. Peugeot is motivated by sheer greed and needs to understand there will be painful consequences if they shut up shop in Britain in this fashion."

The advertising, featuring the cross of St George with the slogan "think of England", is reminiscent of the high-profile "I'm Backing Britain" campaign of 1968, supported by Harold Wilson, Labour prime minister at that time.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff