THE Government is being urged to seek assurances over British jobs as General Motors considers a sale of Vauxhall and Opel to Peugeot-owner PSA Group.
Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, pictured, said it was his priority to speak to GM about what impact the proposed deal would have on Vauxhall’s 35,000-strong UK workforce.
PSA Group, which also owns Citroen and DS, is locked in talks over a ‘potential acquisition’ of GM’s loss-making European arm, as it explores ‘strategic initiatives’ aimed at boosting profits and cutting costs.
Such a deal would see GM exit UK and Europe, while transforming PSA Group into Europe’s second-largest carmaker with a 16 per cent share of the European market.
The US motor giant behind Chevrolet and Cadillac acknowledged talks were taking place, but cautioned that ‘there can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached’.
Vauxhall employs 4,500 staff at plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton, with a further 300 people working in a customer contact centre and 120 at its OnStar headquarters.
Around 23,000 people also work in Vauxhall’s retail network, while 7,000 jobs rely on the firm’s UK supply chain.
McCluskey said: ‘My priority now is to speak to General Motors to seek immediate assurances for the UK plants and this loyal workforce.
‘I’ll also be seeking urgent conversations with the government because everything must be done to secure our world-class automotive industry.’
McCluskey said he was ‘really disappointed’ with how the news of the talks emerged after the GM president gave him personal assurances at the end of last year that there would be no surprises when it came to the future of the UK plants.
‘But while this has come out of the blue, we are absolutely determined – UK plants will not be allowed to close,’ he added.
‘I have no intention of allowing GM to walk away from our plants and workers – so my message to the workers at Luton, Ellesmere Port and the tens of thousands in the wider supply chain is this, remain strong and stay united.
‘The UK and the EU are among GM’s biggest markets. If they think that they can walk away from dedicated workers and loyal consumers without a care, they need to think again.’
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