Car giant Renault has axed 2,500 jobs in France as part of a union-backed productivity programme.

The move is part of the manufacturer's three-year plan to slash 7,500 positions in a bid to reduce costs by 2016.

Jean Agulhon, director of human resources for Renault in France, said the latest batch of job losses meant that the firm was "on track" to save €500m ($685m, £413m).

The news comes after the employer, which has 120,000 staff worldwide, successfully brokered a deal with three out of four of the firm's main unions.

The agreement means Renault will protect its manufacturing bases in France, but increase working hours, curb pay rises and conduct the job cuts programme.

The deal sees Renault extend its early retirement programme as well as other voluntary redundancies.

The job losses will be another blow to French President Francois Hollande, who is battling to reduce the country's high unemployment levels.

The French Labour Ministry recently revealed unemployment figures in France hit a record high of 3,347,700 in February with 31,500 more people out of work than the previous month.