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PSA Group to work with Unite union to 'regain competitiveness' of UK car plants

Vauxhall Ellesmere Port

PSA Group has said that it intends to “rebuild the industrial performance” of Vauxhall’s UK factories in conjunction with the Unite union following a meeting between the two organisations.

A statement issued by the French manufacturer, which added the Opel and Vauxhall brands to a portfolio which includes Peugeot Citroen and DS Automobiles in a £1.9 billion acquisition completed last autumn, confirmed that chairman of the managing board of the Groupe PSA, Carlos Tavares, and Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, had met this week to discuss the future of its UK plants.

Just last month PSA announced 250 redundancies would be made at the Astra hatchback-producing Ellesmere Port plant, taking the total redundancies to 650 since the manufacturer’s takeover.

In a statement issued after this week’s meeting, 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.

“Carlos 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.

“Mr Tavares 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.

“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 the PACE! recovery plan.”

When Vauxhall announced the further job cuts in January, it said it would conduct a statutory 45-day workforce consultation and strive to minimise the impact of the proposed job cuts.

It also said it was committed to keep making the Astra at Ellesmere Port.

PSA has said previously that manufacturing costs at Ellesmere were higher than other plants it owned and the declining UK car market is sure to have an effect on its future viability.

In 2017 Vauxhall experienced a 22% decline in UK registrations and lost its place as its home territory’s second biggest selling car brand to Volkswagen.

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