Astra production is handled at Ellesmere Port
A plan to save the future of Vauxhall's UK production plants is being drafted up by its parent company, the PSA Group, and Unite, the trade union that represents its workforce.
This morning, PSA boss Carlos Tavares met with Unite general secretary Len McCluskey to discuss a plan "to study how to regain the competitiveness of the Vauxhall manufacturing sites in the UK".
PSA said the leaders, whose meeting took place just two weeks after Vauxhall's second phase of job cuts at its Ellesmere Port plant was announced, are working alongside each other to "build [Vauxhall's] industrial footprint" within the PSA Group "after years of degradation".
McCluskey said that “Tavares repeated his desire not to close UK plants" and that Unite is focused on safeguarding the UK plant employees. He stated that Unite would be prepared to "disrupt PSA’s UK market share if the company fails to support this loyal workforce".
McCluskey said that he will be "pressing business secretary Greg Clark to ensure that the Government does all it can to create the climate for PSA investment". He admitted ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations is hampering progress but said that he "remains optimistic".
Vauxhall recently offered 250 members of its Ellesmere Port staff voluntary redundancies in a bid to reduce costs and improve efficiency at the site. This followed the first wave of cuts in October last year, with the total number of jobs Vauxhall plans to have removed from its Cheshire site by September 2018 amounting to 650.
Ellesmere Port employs 1800 of the company’s 4500 British workers. Vauxhall has begun a 45-day consultancy, as per legal requirements, in order to aid its departing employees with new opportunities.
Vauxhall said production of the Astra would continue at the facility but that production would be downgraded from operating two to one shift per day.
PSA aims to return Vauxhall and Opel to profit by 2020.
Tavares said late last year that he has no intention to close any company factories during this process. He also revealed that Vauxhall and Opel would shift to using PSA platforms to enhance research and development sustainability.