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Ellesmere engine plant under threat

Unions at Vauxhall's Ellesmere engine plant have been informed of a run down in production leading to a possible closure in 2005.

Production at the plant, which produces the V6 engine in a joint venture between GM and Fiat, will fall from 100,000 engines to 60,000 next year. And it could drop to just 40,000 in 2005. No work is planned at the plant after that. Also, a two-shift operation will fall to just one shift this summer.

According to a report in today's Times, one of the plant's union Amicus has called on the Government to put pressure on GM to make a pledge to maintain production at the plant and to look at a replacement hydrogen engine for the plant in the future.

Roger Lyons, joint general secretary of Amicus, said: “What is needed is commitment from GM Europe to the longer term. I am asking both the Secretary of State and senior GM European management to meet to discuss that commitment.”

And Tony Woodley, the T&G's deputy general secretary, and a former carworker at Ellesmere, said: “We've lost one Vauxhall car plant; we don't want to lose an engine plant next.”

A spokesman for Fiat/GM Powertrain, the joint venture, said: “We are not going to speculate about the future of the engine plant beyond 2005.”

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