Car­maker’s job loss fear Vauxhall boss warns of cuts

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - FINANCE -

THE owner of car maker Vauxhall has braced work­ers for cut­backs.

Michael Lohscheller, who runs Opel Au­to­mo­bile, stressed its “clear in­ten­tion” was to “main­tain all plants and re­frain from forced re­dun­dan­cies in Europe”.

But the firm added: “The nec­es­sary and sus­tain­able re­duc­tion of labour costs shall be reached with thought­ful mea­sures such as in­no­va­tive work­ing time con­cepts, vol­un­tary pro­grammes or early re­tire­ment schemes.”

It came as the com­pany an­nounced a tar­get to slash costs by £975mil­lion a year by 2020, ris­ing to £1.5bn by 2026.

Peu­geot par­ent com­pany PSA com­pleted the takeover of Gen­eral Mo­tors’ loss-mak­ing Eu­ro­pean arm in Au­gust. A big part of the sav­ings will come from shar­ing parts across the PSA group.

The cost-cut an­nounce­ment is likely to re­ceive a mixed re­ac­tion at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port and Lu­ton fac­to­ries which em­ploy 4,500 work­ers.

PSA has pledged to con­tinue mak­ing the cur­rent sev­enth gen­er­a­tion As­tra at Ellesmere Port un­til 2021 and the Vi­varo van at Lu­ton un­til 2025, but there are con­cerns about what hap­pens after that.

It comes weeks after PSA an­nounced there would be 400 job losses at the Ellesmere Port plant. Unite, Bri­tain’s big­gest union, was in dis­cus­sions with Opel man­age­ment yes­ter­day.

Opel aims to make its busi­ness prof­itable by 2020.

Other an­nounce­ments yes­ter­day in­cluded hav­ing elec­tric ver­sions of all mod­els. And there were com­mit­ments on re­search and de­vel­op­ment and two new mod­els – both to be built in Ger­many.

Pro­fes­sor Chris­tian Stadler, of War­wick Busi­ness School, said: “They are keep­ing their op­tions open for the UK op­er­a­tions as a lot will de­pend on the out­come of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.”

TSB says its cus­tomers will be among the first in Europe to use fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy. The fea­ture, on Ap­ple’s lat­est iphone X, al­lows users to un­lock their TSB mo­bile bank­ing app and make pay­ments.

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Mo­tor­cy­cle sales hit the brakes again last month. Just over 7,400 new bikes hit the road in Oc­to­ber, down 13.6% on 12 months ago and the 10th monthly fall in a row. The Na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion blamed a pre­vi­ous spike in sales.

MPS on the Com­mons Busi­ness Select Com­mit­tee will in­ves­ti­gate the im­pact of Brexit on Bri­tain’s car in­dus­try at a hear­ing next Tues­day.

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