NEWS that 300 new jobs will be created at a car manufacturing plant has been hailed as a huge boost to the region by community leaders.
The mayors of both Chester and Ellesmere Port, where many of the Vauxhall factory’s 1,800-strong workforce live, said the move marked an impressive turnaround after the facility was threatened with closure in 2012.
Vauxhall is to take on 550 extra staff across its plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton in the company’s “first significant new-hire programme for a decade”.
Cllr Brian Jones, Mayor of Ellesmere Port, said: “It’s fantastic news. After it was thought the plant might close, the unions and the workforce have proved themselves – and all credit to them.
“I’m glad to see Vauxhall has recognised this. It’s a marvellous boost.”
The plant currently operates on two shifts but, as sales volumes build, more employees are required to cope with increased output at the facility, company bosses have said.
The new jobs will be phased in over the first quarter of 2015.
Cllr Bob Rudd, Lord Mayor of Chester, said: “This is great news. Unemployment is one of the worst things for people to deal with so if there are engineering jobs creating new cars in the region, then so much the better.
“With so much of the country’s wealth centred around London, it’s good that it is being recognised that investment is needed in the North West.”
The plant celebrated its 50th birthday last month and is preparing to produce the next generation of the Astra model from next year in a move worth £125m.
It was built on the site of RAF Hooton in 1962, with the first car rolling off the production line on June 1, 1964.
Speaking about the jobs boost in Ellesmere Port and Luton, Tim Tozer, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director, said: “This is great news for Vauxhall and for British manufacturing.
“Both of our UK manufacturing plants have won long contracts with all-new products and, as the business strengthens, we need to take on more people to build these exciting new Vauxhalls.”
Plant director Stefan Fesser said last month: “The plant has secured its place in the community for years to come.”