Union determination to save the UK’s Vauxhall plants is now clear to French owners PSA, according to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
Speaking after a meeting in Paris between Unite and the head of the PSA automotive corporation Carlos Tavares, Mr McCluskey said: “Today’s was a helpful meeting. We had a frank exchange and are now clear on our respective positions.
“Carlos Tavares repeated his desire not to close UK plants which is reassuring. He also talked of working with Unite to construct a roadmap for future operations in the UK, again encouraging.”
He continued: “On behalf of Unite I repeated our determination to safeguard the UK plants and if needs be our willingness to disrupt PSA’s UK market share if the company fails to support this loyal workforce. I remain optimistic however that we can work constructively with PSA albeit with the uncertainty and confusion caused by Brexit being a consideration for the company.
“That is why I will also be pressing the business secretary Greg Clark to ensure that the UK government does all it can to create the climate for PSA investment.”
He concluded: “I will be seeking a meeting with the secretary of state on this as soon as possible because there is no time to lose. The three parties, PSA, Unite and the UK government, must work together now to give our plants a future.”
Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant is losing 650 jobs to improve productivity for the future.
- In a statement PSA said the meeting with Mr McCluskey ‘was an opportunity to establish a frank and constructive dialogue in order to study how to regain the competitiveness of the Vauxhall manufacturing sites in the United Kingdom in terms of cost/quality performance in the context of an unstable economic environment’.
Mr Tavares ‘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’.
He emphasised that, among other stakeholders, ‘the Unite union’s support for this process is essential to rebuild the Vauxhall industrial footprint, to make it progress and to ensure its sustainability in the new context of the Groupe PSA’.
PSA said further meetings are planned ‘to quickly move this recovery plan for Vauxhall’s manufacturing sites to the highest level of performance after years of degradation’ and in line with PSA’s strategic plan for Vauxhall/Opel.