SIGNIFICANT CHANGES SIGNAL MORE JOB LOSSES
The proposed restructuring of Ellesmere Port.
auxhall has announced it has entered into a period of consultation with Trade Union and employee representatives to propose a restructuring of the manufacturer’s Ellesmere Port assembly plant. Opened in 1962, the site has produced Vivas, Chevettes, Vectras and enjoyed a decadelong stint as the assembly hub for the legendary 54° V6 engine found in Vectras, Cavaliers, Calibras and Omegas. Today, the 1.2million m2 facility is dedicated to Astra K production, with the vast majority of finished vehicles wearing Opel badges before being readied for export to mainland Europe.
The company announced restructuring at Ellesmere Port to align production costs with 2019 forecasts and plans. “Site compression”, implementation of new technologies and other transformation activities will have an impact on headcount, necessitating a planned reduction of employees by 214 heads during the coming year.
Vauxhall says the changes are necessary to maintain competitiveness during a difficult time within the automotive industry. The company was also keen to stress it is committed to carrying out the changes without having to utilise compulsory redundancies. In some cases, employees may be able to take advantage of relocation packages assisting a move from Ellesmere Port to the firm’s commercial vehicle production facility in Luton.
Collective consultations will take place for a minimum of fortyfive days in the hope Vauxhall can reach an agreement with Trade Union executives concerning redundancies and mitigating the consequences of any such dismissal. This gesture comes as little comfort to Ellesmere Port employees in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Ill feeling was demonstrated by Ellesmere Port factory staff who staged a mass walkout immediately after hearing the news when it was announced just as we were going to press. The proposed changes to the plant follow VauxhallOpel’s rapid return to profit after being sold as a lossmaking concern to Groupe PSA by General Motors. Ellesmere Port has long been “the home of the Astra” and is currently dedicated to Astra K fivedoor and Sports Tourer production. We’ll be sure to report back with further news as the story develops.