GM president calms fears over jobs at Vauxhall UK
No ‘rationalisation’ plans
General Motors president Dan Ammann has held crisis talks with the government and unions over fears that thousands of British jobs at Vauxhall could be axed as part of a takeover.
Mr Ammann met business secretary Greg Clark andUnite general secretary Len McCluskey following news that Peugeot owner PSA Group is in talks to acquire GM’s loss-making European operation.
The deal would include Vauxhall, which has plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton employing 4,500 staff.
Mr Clark said the talks were “constructive” and he was reassured that the plants would not be “rationalised”. He said: “I emphasised the importance of Vauxhall in the UK and welcomed GM’s recognition of the excellent and committed workforce at Ellesmere Port, Luton and across the UK.
“This follows GM’s recent significant investments both at Ellesmere Port and Luton.”
MrClark is also seeking a meeting with PSAGroup to discuss the proposed deal that would see Vauxhall and Opel shift to the French governmentbacked automotive giant. This would seeGMexit the UK and Europe, while transforming PSA Group into Europe’s secondlargest car maker with a 16% share of the market.
Vauxhall is a major employer in the UK, with 35,000 staff, including 23,000 in its retail network, 300 at a contact centre in Luton and 7,000 in its supply chain alongside workers at its two factories.
Germany has already expressed concerns at the takeover, with chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet discussing what impact the tie-up would have on the 19,000 German jobs at Opel. It came on the dayGMchief executive Mary Barra is said to have flown toGermany to visit Opel’s HQ in Russelsheim to discuss the deal.
Mr McCluskey has called on the government to extend the assurances offered to Nissan over Brexit to the rest of the UK car industry to help secure jobs at Vauxhall.
Mr Nissan announced in October that it was investing in production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models at Sunderland after receiving government assurances that EU withdrawal would not affect the plant’s competitiveness.
PSA Group, which also owns the Citroen and DS brands, formed an alliance with GM in 2012 to make production more efficient by combining purchasing power and larger scale. The US motor giant said last year that it had to raise UK car prices by 2.5% after the plunge in the value of the pound following the vote to leave the EU.
UP FOR SALE: GM’s plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton employ 4,500 staff