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PSA Group delivers Ellesmere Port Brexit ultimatum as Ford cuts 12,000 jobs

Vauxhall Ellesmere Port

PSA Group has said that its plans to produce the next generation Vauxhall Astra hatchback at Ellesmere Port are dependent on the final terms of Brexit and the acceptance of a “New Vehicle Agreement” by the Unite trade union.

The French carmaker announced this afternoon that its plant in Russelsheim, Germany, will manufacture Astra and that it is planned that the second plant will be Ellesmere Port in the United Kingdom.

The news came as Ford unveiled a restructure of its European manufacturing operations which would lead to 12,000 job cuts as the brand targets a 6% EBIT margin in the loss-making region.

Currently, PSA Group produces the Vauxhall and Opel Astra are built in Ellesmere Port and in Gliwice, Poland.

However, the statement said that there were conditions to the agreement, stating: “The decision on the allocation to the Ellesmere Port plant will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the acceptance of the New Vehicle Agreement, which has been negotiated with the Unite Trade Union.”

The statement added: “This news demonstrates the continuous effort and commitment of Groupe PSA to Vauxhall Motors.”

While PSA Group’s plans for UK vehicle production still hang in the balance, Ford has announced a restructure of its manufacturing operations in Europe that will lead to the loss of 12,000 jobs from its current 51,000 strong workforce in the region.

Ford plans to have closed five of its plants – the Ford Aquitaine Industries Transmission Plant in France; Naberezhnye Chelny Assembly; St Petersburg Assembly; and Elabuga Engine Plant in Russia – and will sell its Kechnec Transmission Plant in Slovakia to Magna.

The action will reduce Ford’s manufacturing footprint in Europe to a proposed 18 facilities by the end of 2020, from 24 at the beginning of 2019 while, in the UK, the Ford of Britain and Ford Credit Europe headquarters in Warley will also close later this year and operations consolidated in Dunton.

The BBC reported that 2,000 of the job losses planned by Ford were salaried roles, which are among the previously announced 7,000 salaried jobs that are being cut worldwide.

Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said: "Separating employees and closing plants are the hardest decisions we make, and in recognition of the effect on families and communities, we are providing support to ease the impact.

"We are grateful for the ongoing consultations with our works councils, trade union partners and elected representatives.

"Together, we are moving forward and focused on building a long-term sustainable future for our business in Europe."

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