Leaders of Unite say the £38bn merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group should lead to the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port being given a new electric model. Tony McDonough reports
Union leaders say the £38bn merger between Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group should pave the way for a new model to be made at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port.
It was confirmed the merger will result in more than £3bn of cost savings although PSA, owner of the Vauxhall and Peugeot brands, has pledged they will not include factory closures. The deal will create the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker.
Around 900 workers are employed at the Ellesmere Port site producing the current Astra model and the Unite union pointed out on Tuesday that it remains the only plant in PSA’s European network not be be given a new model.
A cloud of uncertainty has been hanging over the factory for a number of years. Hundreds of jobs have been cut over the past couple of years and PSA had warned that Brexit put its long-term future in doubt.
However, with a UK-EU trade deal now agreed Unite says its time PSA made an investment into Ellesmere Port and into its sister plant in Luton where 1,500 workers produce the Vivaro van.Unit is seeking confirmation that the company would stand by its previous announcement that there would be no plant closures in the UK.
Unite national officer for automotive industries Des Quinn said: “This merger is good news for our members at a bleak time for the UK economy. We welcome the approval of both sets of shareholders to create the fourth biggest global carmaker and will seek reassurance that the new merged company will continue to commit to no plant closures.
“Specifically in the UK, we call upon PSA to look at a longer term plan to build electrified vehicles at both Luton and Ellesmere Port with future regulatory and legislative changes in mind.
“At Ellesmere Port, it is also now time for our members to be rewarded for their ongoing commitment and having met all cost requirements to be awarded new product – currently, it is the only plant in Europe not to have been.
“Previously the management have said that this decision will not be made until there is a clear understanding on the outcome of discussions between the British government and the European Union. Now the free trade deal with the EU has been agreed by both sides with no tariffs or quotas, this should create the necessary business environment the company was seeking.