Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant will remain open, securing the jobs of 2100 workers and creating up to 700 new roles

Vauxhall has confirmed that production of its next-generation Vauxhall Astra will be built at the company’s manufacturing plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, securing jobs in north west Britain until at least the early 2020s.

Ellesmere Port will be the lead plant of two in Europe building the new model. Assembly of the new compact car is scheduled to start in 2015.

The decision follows the conclusion of a new labour agreement, which was approved by the Vauxhall workforce yesterday. The agreement – which will lead to staff working more flexible hours as the plant moves from a two-shift pattern to a 24-hour three-shift pattern – comes into force in 2013 and runs through the life of the next-generation Astra, into the early 2020s.

As part of the agreement, the plant will implement a number of what Vauxhall refers to as “creative operating solutions to improve flexibility and reduce fixed costs and hence significantly improve its competitiveness”.

Operating on three-shifts, the plant is expected to run profitably at full capacity. The plan agrees a minimum of 160,000 vehicles to be produced each year.  Vauxhall/Opel intends to invest £125 million into the facility in Ellesmere Port in order to upgrade it to the latest manufacturing standards and prepare for production of the new model. The company expects to create approximately 700 new jobs in order to facilitate the three-shift operation.

Vauxhall will also raise the local supply content for the Astra to be built in Ellesmere Port to at least 25 per cent. It is estimated that this could generate an estimated 3000 jobs in the supply chain.

The future of Ellesmere Port had been under threat for some time, due to parent company GM’s precarious financial position. Since 1999 Opel, GM’s European arm of which Vauxhall is part, has lost £7 billion.

Despite being Vauxhall Opel’s most efficient plant, Ellesmere Port had been thought likely to close because it is cheaper and easier to axe workers in the UK than mainland Europe. However, the good news for Ellesmere will bring the future of Opel’s factory in Bochum, Germany, under the spotlight.

Vauxhall Chairman and Managing Director, Duncan Aldred, said: “This is great news for the Ellesmere Port plant, our employees, the local community, our suppliers and the Vauxhall brand and the UK. We have been able to develop a responsible labour agreement that secures the plant’s future. With Ellesmere Port’s proven build quality and a new agreement that ensures excellent cost competitiveness, this facility will provide additional employment and, as the lead plant for the next-generation Astra, will be one of the cornerstones of our European manufacturing footprint.”

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Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

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Comments
23

17 May 2012

RIP the people who said they had information Ellesmere port would close, along with Opel/Vauxhall.

  Well done Ellesmere

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

17 May 2012

Good to see GM making the right decision at last and to see unions and management working together to secure the plant's future. Well done.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

17 May 2012

This quote from BBC news...

But the willingness of unions and workers at the plant to agree to more flexible working arrangements is thought to have played an important role in GM's decision, as has the government's engagement on the issue in recent months.

This is the real story here. Workers and unions accepting that things need to change in order to protect jobs. Now, if only this could be replicated by other union officials...

17 May 2012

This is an example of unions, the Government and the company working together for the good of the company, the worker and the wider economy.  

 

Yet you focus the attention onto the union and post yet another dull and predicable union-bashing rant?

Please take your odious politics elsewhere. 

 

18 May 2012

il sole wrote:

But the willingness of unions and workers at the plant to agree to more flexible working arrangements is thought to have played an important role in GM's decision, as has the government's engagement on the issue in recent months.

In the same interview, the union official also said that they would seek to get the same deal for the Opel workers in Germany. Now, how would they achieve that do you suppose?

No mention of how much Government/Tax Payers money went into sweetening the deal in Ellesmere's favour. Opel must be spitting cinders.

17 May 2012

Happy for the Ellesmere Port employees and their families. Now let's keep our fingers crossed Vauxhall/Opel's sales performance picks up, so that their long-term prospects can be secured too.

17 May 2012

I am glad to see GM have seen common sense and at last decided to tackle head on the issue that is the German factories.  It is something they have needed to do for a while now and whilst it may still hurt in the short term but it will be better for them in the long run.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 May 2012

Phew....

17 May 2012

Excellent news. I drove the current Astra for the first time yesterday. It is light years ahead of the previous incarnation. It handles fairly well (Focus gives better feedback), the engine is much quieter than the previous generation Focus diesels and the ride is decent. Only criticism is the standard seats are truly awful. Absolutely rock hard! However, the marked improvements I would hope will ensure the future for Astras is bright.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

17 May 2012

Does anyone still buy Vauxhalls with their own money? I'm not sure what the brand stands for other than 'mediocre'. Just a personal view but, for a reason I can't put my finger on, I'd rather have a Ford.

Alex.herzog@ymail.com if anyone prefers to debate anything offline. 

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