General Motors to keep Vauxhall Ellesmere Port factory open

Vauxhall Astra

Car giant announces it will build the next generation Astra in UK, safeguarding 2,100 jobs

LAST UPDATED AT 11:47 ON Thu 17 May 2012

THE FUTURE of the Vauxhall car plant in Ellesmere Port looked secure last night after General Motors announced that the next generation Astra would be built there.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the factory's reprieve comes after weeks of speculation that the 50-year-old plant could be closed by Vauxhall's American parent company.

Workers have voted on a new labour agreement that is expected to secure 2,100 jobs in the North West. New measures are thought to include round-the-clock manufacturing, weekend working, and more staff.

The BBC reports that Britain's gain is Germany's loss, as the UK workers won out over their counterparts in Bochum, where GM will close its plant.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said: "Huge efforts have been made to try to secure the future of the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port and the Government has played an important role in making the progress we have so far."

"The decision to ballot the workforce signals a very strong vote of confidence by General Motors in the UK automotive industry and is the culmination of weeks of hard work and behind the scenes talking between the company, the unions and the Government."

The announcement is the latest in a series of positive decisions from Britain's foreign-owned car manufacturers. Nissan recently confirmed production of two new models for its Sunderland plant, Jaguar Land Rover announced it would be taking on another 1,000 people at Halewood and Honda wants to double production at its main European plant in Swindon.

The Vauxhall deal will lead to 700 extra jobs, an extra third shift to ensure 24-hour-a-day running and, significantly, the introduction of weekend working to ensure the factory works 'a full capacity'. Production is set to rise from the current 140,000 cars a year to 225,000. · 

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