Peugeot Citroen boss seeks to avoid further Vauxhall job losses in meeting with Union

Head of PSA Carlos Tavares tells Unite’s Len McCluskey he doesn’t want to close Vauxhall’s UK factories

The head of Peugeot and Citroen (PSA) has met with Vauxhall union bosses for a “frank exchange” of ideas, as the French company weighs up how it will integrate the British brand into its portfolio of companies.

The Unite union’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said the meeting with Carlos Tavares, PSA’s chief executive, was “constructive”, and Tavares repeated his desire not to close UK factories.

• PSA emissions probe reveals 1.9m cars could have fraudulent software

McCluskey explained the PSA chief “also talked of working with Unite to construct a roadmap for future operations in the UK”.

Following the talks, PSA released a statement that said the company “proposed to implement the principle of co-construction with the Unite union, in order to define a roadmap to rebuild the industrial performance of the Vauxhall factories in the United Kingdom, in a reasonable manner.”

These latest meetings follow two rounds of job losses at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory, with 650 voluntary redundancies announced in previous months.

At the start of 2018, it was announced Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant would see a further 250 job losses, following an announcement in October last year the factory would shed 400 jobs. The British marque’s new owner, PSA Group, is set to move production of the Vauxhall Astra from two shifts to one early in 2018.

At the time, Vauxhall said it would undertake a mandatory 45-day consultation over the fresh 250 voluntary redundancies, and that it would attempt to minimise the impact of job losses.

The initial 400-job loss announcement from PSA, which acquired Vauxhall and its European counterpart Opel from GM for £1.9bn in August 2017, came as a result of “challenging European market conditions” according to a PSA spokesman. 

The Group, which also owns Peugeot, Citroen and DS, also said that manufacturing costs at Ellesmere Port were higher than at other major plants in the group, making it vulnerable to job cuts.

Vauxhall employs 4,500 people in the UK as a whole and 1,800 at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire.  

Vauxhall itself has been quick to point out that the move to scale back Astra production has nothing to do with uncertainty around Brexit. Vauxhall Astra sales have declined along with those of other traditional C-segment family hatchbacks as the market has moved towards crossovers and SUVs. With a new Astra due in the early 2020s, Vauxhall claims that the move is intended to make the plant as efficient as possible in a bid to be chosen to build that car. 

The PSA statement said that no decision on where the new Vauxhall Astra will be built would be taken until the uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the European Union had cleared. Stating that once PSA had “enough visibility on the future trading relationship with the EU, and the plant competitiveness has been addressed, the company will be in a position to consider future investments."

Read our in-depth review of the Vauxhall Astra...

Recommended

Vauxhall offers 30,000 miles of free charging with EV models
Vauxhall Corsa-e - cornering front
Vauxhall

Vauxhall offers 30,000 miles of free charging with EV models

Vauxhall extends 3-year/30,000 mile charging deal as part of wider EV push
12 Aug 2021
Stellantis confirms Ellesmere Port’s future as Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen electric van factory
Ellesmere Port - Stellantis
Vauxhall

Stellantis confirms Ellesmere Port’s future as Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen electric van factory

Vauxhall’s new parent company, Stellantis, will spend £100 million to convert former Astra production line over to electric vans
6 Jul 2021
New Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD gets 145bhp and 124-mile range
Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD - front
Vauxhall

New Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD gets 145bhp and 124-mile range

Specs for the all-electric Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD have been revealed, although the German brand has no plans to put it into production
18 May 2021

Most Popular

New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
The best 0% finance car deals 2021
Best 0% finance car deals - header
Best cars & vans

The best 0% finance car deals 2021

Tempted by a 0% APR deal? Here are our best 0% finance deals starting from only £145...
21 Oct 2021
New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch
Michelin Uptis
News

New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch

The new airless Michelin Uptis is made from rubber and fibreglass and promises to be longer lasting, fuel-saving and recyclable
20 Oct 2021