Jobs could be culled at Vauxhall if Fiat succeeds in taking over General Motors’ European operations, unions fear.
Negotiations are taking place to sell Vauxhall and Opel to Fiat, in a move that would make the Italian brand the world’s second largest car manufacturer.
There is immense pressure from German labour groups to avoid any job losses there and Fiat is likely to want to avoid any labour cuts at home.
However, UK unions are concerned that this would leave Britain as an easy target for cutbacks. The Unite union's general secretary, Tony Woodley has warned that 5000 workers at Vauxhall’s Luton and Ellesmere Port plants are at risk.
Woodley added that he fears GM Europe needs more funding than Fiat currently has.
“Quite frankly, they're another European competitor with plants and, as everybody knows, there's overcapacity,” he said.
Woodley's concerns were backed by Professor Garel Rhys of the Cardiff Business School. He said: "General Motors has indicated they have three plants too many and those are in Germany or run by the Germans.
"It could be that Fiat would baulk at taking on the Germans and might look for the softer option of closing a plant here."