Unite is seeking high level meetings with the UK government and Vauxhall’s parent company PSA Group to discuss future plans and ensure there are no compulsory redundancies.
PSA – maker of Peugeot and Citroen – took over General Motors Europe (Vauxhall) earlier this year.
The company says the redundancies have come about because the group is ‘facing challenging European market conditions’.
Coming days after last week’s job losses at BAE Systems , Unite described the Vauxhall announcement as another ‘huge loss’ to the north west economy which would be felt throughout the supply chain.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This news is extremely difficult to take. To lose 400 skilled jobs at Vauxhall, albeit on a voluntary basis, is a major blow to the automotive industry and its supply chain. It is also another huge loss for the north west economy.
“Quite clearly, economic concerns are having a serious impact on consumer confidence. When people feel insecure about the future they do not invest in expenditure like a new car.
“Our priority now is to support our members and protect this plant. We are calling for meetings with the highest levels of the parent company PSA to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies and that our plant continues to attract much needed investment. That includes removing the uncertainty about a new model and clarity on Ellesmere Port’s future.
“But we also appeal to the government for its assistance. This industry urgently needs economic and trading certainty so that it can build for a strong future in the UK. We ask that ministers give PSA and other manufacturers a clear signal that government will do all it needs to do to support this crucial sector through the Brexit process.”
Vauxhall employs about 4,500 people in the UK, with around 1,800 at Ellesmere Port. The company also has a factory at Luton, which makes vans.
Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Cllr Samantha Dixon, said: “We are saddened by news of redundancies at Vauxhall’s site in Ellesmere Port and are working with PSA Group to fully understand the impact this will have on the highly skilled and motivated workforce.
“This will be an uncertain time for staff, many of whom live within our borough, and we are monitoring the situation carefully.
“We hope it can be managed through voluntary redundancies and will do everything we can to support those looking for new employment, including work-based skills and career guidance, and linking with local companies currently recruiting.
“We will continue to work closely with Vauxhall, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Government departments, the local development board, neighbouring councils and other partners to secure the long term future of the plant in Ellesmere Port.”