News that Vauxhall is seeking to shed another 250 workers from the Home of the Astra in Ellesmere Port has been described as ‘devastating’ by the town’s MP.
Justin Madders (Lab) was commenting following the announcement that Vauxhall, now owned by French group PSA, are seeking further voluntary redundancies just weeks after 400 jobs were axed.
“This is more devastating news for workers in this area and my thoughts are first and foremost with the families of those who will be losing their jobs,” said the MP. “When previous job losses were announced in October it was made clear that manufacturing costs were higher at Ellesmere Port than some other plants.
“That is why I called on the Government to urgently intervene and work with the management to reduce costs and improve productivity, for example by creating incentives to encourage suppliers to relocate to Ellesmere Port.
“Sadly and unlike on previous occasions when the facility has faced difficulties, ministers have provided warm words but no concrete action while governments in other countries are pulling out all the stops to improve competitiveness.
“I have been working closely with the council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to improve the situation but in order to deliver this we need a financial commitment from the Government and we need it now.”
He added: “While we have seen new funding announced for the infrastructure to support electronic vehicles we have seen nothing to support the production of the next generation of vehicles in this country.
“We have a proud manufacturing heritage in this country but we risk being left behind if we don’t act now. The Government must surely realise that the PSA Group are serious when they say they will judge each plant on its competitiveness.
“We desperately need an interventionist Government supportive of manufacturing if we are to protect the remaining highly valued, skilled jobs at the plant.”
Vauxhall has affirmed the company’s continued commitment to the factory and says: “The company remains confident in the ability of the Ellesmere Port workforce to deliver the necessary improvements in financial performance.”
Unite the Union general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “This is an additional blow to a world class workforce that is one of the most efficient in the industry. PSA must provide investment guarantees on new models for Ellesmere Port as a matter of urgency.”
He added: “Unite’s priority is to support our members and protect this plant. We will not tolerate compulsory redundancies and Unite will leave no stone unturned in securing the long term future of Ellesmere Port and the highly skilled workforce.
“It is one of the jewels in our manufacturing crown and will not be allowed to wither on the vine.”