MP calls for government to act after 'devastating' loss of 250 more jobs from Ellesmere Port's Vauxhall plant

Reporter:

Matt Warner

ELLESMERE Port's MP has described the news that the town's Vauxhall plans to cut a further 250 jobs as devastating.

The car manufacturer, which was bought by Peugeot-owner PSA Group in a £1.9 billion deal last year, said the move was designed to drive the "recovery of plant productivity".

It comes just months after the company said it would slash 400 staff at the site.

Mr Madders said immediate government action was needed.

The Ellesmere Port and Neston MP said: “This is more devastating news for workers in this area and my thoughts are first and foremost with the families of those who will be losing their jobs.

“When previous job losses were announced in October, it was made clear that manufacturing costs were higher at Ellesmere Port than some other plants. That is why I called on the government to urgently intervene and work with the management to reduce costs and improve productivity, for example by creating incentives to encourage suppliers to relocate to Ellesmere Port.

“Sadly, and unlike on previous occasions when the facility has faced difficulties, ministers have provided warm words but no concrete action, while governments in other countries are pulling out all the stops to improve competitiveness.  I have been working closely with the council and Local Enterprise Partnership to improve the situation but in order to deliver this, we need a financial commitment from the government, and we need it now.”

As part of the latest job cuts, the Cheshire-based plant will move to a single production shift in April this year.

In a statement, Vauxhall said: "At a meeting held on Thursday 4 January 2018 between representatives from Vauxhall Motors and UNITE the Union, the company explained that although the initial voluntary separation programme at its Ellesmere Port plant announced in October (aligned to adjustment of production volumes in order to protect its future) has been successful, it needs to initiate a further voluntary programme for eligible employees of a further 250 heads in the period from April to the end of September 2018."

PSA, which owns Peugeot and Citroen, agreed to buy the loss-making European arm of General Motors (GM) in March.

The move aimed to secure GM's exit from the UK and Europe while transforming PSA into Europe's second-largest car maker.

However, the takeover sparked concern in the UK about the impact on thousands of jobs at Vauxhall plants and supply companies.

Mr Madders said there is an opportunity for plants like Ellesmere Port to produce the next generation of vehicles if the government was prepared to act.

Mr Madders added: “As I pointed out earlier today, while we have seen new funding announced for the infrastructure to support electronic vehicles, we have seen nothing to support the production of the next generation of vehicles in this country.  We have a proud manufacturing heritage in this country, but we risk being left behind if we don’t act now.

“The government must surely realise that the PSA Group are serious when they say they will judge each plant on its competitiveness and we desperately need an interventionist government supportive of manufacturing if we are to protect the remaining highly valued, skilled jobs at the plant.”

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

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