The PSA Group has announced it’s Vauxhall Astra-building Ellesmere Port car manufacturing plant will remain closed until September.
The French carmaker said that the site, which closed its doors on March 17 in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, would remain shut with some employees set to be redeployed to its LCV plant at Luton.
PSA said that demand for its Luton-built Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch, means that a third shift operation was now needed to increase output.
Representatives of Vauxhall Motors met with Trade Union representatives of the Vauxhall National Joint Negotiating Committee yesterday (June 10) in order to set out plans to redeploy labour from Ellesmere Port to Luton Plant on a voluntary basis for a temporary period.
PSA Group says the proposal will protect employment and support the ability to respond to significant demand for light commercial vehicle (LCV) production with highly trained and skilled workers for the Ellesmere Port site, while demand for Astra is building sufficiently.
The Ellesmere Port plant, which employs some 1,000 people, built more than 60,000 Astras last year.
In a statement, PSA Group said: “The commercial situation of Vauxhall and Opel Astra requires the restarting of Ellesmere Port operations after September 1.
“Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, Groupe PSA's priority has been to protect the health of its employees and ensure the sustainability of the company.
"Manufacturing activity at Groupe PSA’s Luton site commenced on May 18 after the deployment of a protocol of reinforced health measures.”
In August last year PSA Group chairman and chief executive Carlos Tavares has re-stated the French carmaker’s warning that Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant could be closed if Brexit makes it unprofitable.
In an interview with the Financial Times (FT) Tavares said that Vauxhall, "has another plant in mind" if the conditions of Brexit are "unfavourable".