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New working agreement with GM secures Ellesmere as home of new Astra

A vote in favour of new working conditions by workers has cleared the way for investment in Ellesmere Port as it prepares to be lead plant of two building the new Astra.

Around 2,000 jobs are said to have been secured by the news and another 700 created.

The measures agreed are thought to involve round-the-clock manufacturing, weekend working and headcount increases, due to take effect from 2013. As well as a boost to Ellesmere Port the decision should also boost the supply chain. It is suggested that for every one job at a manufacturer plant another seven are needed in the supply chain.

GM held a press conference at 10am today to confirm the news. There had been fears the Merseyside plant would be closed as part of a capacity reduction plan by GM as it attempts to tackle years of financial losses. GM could now close a plant at Bochum.

The Government insists there were no financial inducements provided to influence GM's decision, although there have been talks betweent two parties.

The Unite union recommended a new working agreement, thought to include a two-year pay freeze.

Assembly of the new Astra is due to start in 2015.

The plan agrees a minimum of 160,000 vehicles to be produced each year.  Vauxhall/Opel intends to invest £125 million in Ellesmere Port. 

Vauxhall will also raise the local supply content for the Astra to be built in Ellesmere Port to at least 25% which will create further employment locally and in the UK.

Vauxhall chairman and managing director Duncan Aldred, said: “This is great news for the Ellesmere Port plant, our employees, the local community, our suppliers, the Vauxhall brand and the UK.

"We have been able to develop a responsible labour agreement that secures the plant’s future. 

"This is assisted by the Government‘s industrial strategy;  increasing its focus on the manufacturing sector and creating ideal ground for companies to build up long term investments."

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