MORE than 180 volunteer workers from Ellesmere Port's Vauxhall plant have joined the third shift at the carmaker's Luton factory.

The North Road site employees are assisting the Luton workforce on a temporary basis due to "significant demand" for van production.

The carmaker is covering transportation costs and expenses for all staff involved in the redeployment.

It comes after parent company Groupe PSA confirmed last month that the Ellesmere Port plant would not restart production until after September 1.

The factory temporarily closed back in March due to the coronavirus outbreak with workers placed on furlough.

Groupe PSA said redeploying some staff from Ellesmere Port to Luton would "protect employment" while providing "highly trained and skilled workers" for Luton to meet the demand for van production.

In its latest statement, the company said: "Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, Groupe PSA's priority has been to protect the health of its employees and ensure the sustainability of the company.

"Manufacturing activity at Groupe PSA’s Luton site commenced on 18th May with one shift after the deployment of a protocol of reinforced health measures.

"The success of the Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch produced there required a second shift to commence from 1st June and now a third shift from this Sunday, 12th July, to increase output at the site.

"In agreement with Unite the Union, 188 volunteer employees from the Ellesmere Port plant, and the Parts Distribution Centre in Luton will assist the workforce at Luton on a temporary basis bringing the total workforce there to 1,750 staff.

"Vauxhall Motors are covering transportation and expenses for all staff involved."