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BRITAIN’S manufacturing industry suffered another blow yesterday when Vauxhall announced plans to cut 400 jobs at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
The redundancies represent more than 20 per cent of the factory’s 1,800-strong workforce and will go by the end of the year.
Vauxhall has blamed “challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market,” and claimed it was trying to secure the plant’s future.
Workers will be briefed this morning.
Unite manufacturing head Tony Burke told the Star: “We are aware of the situation and of the proposals from the company.
“The union has discussed this internally. There will be a meeting of the shop stewards first thing Monday morning when they will get a full report from the convener.”
Vauxhall said it hoped to achieve the job losses through a “voluntary separation programme.”
The company said it had tabled a plan with Unite to introduce single-shift operations at Ellesmere Port during 2018 and voluntary redundancy for eligible employees.
A statement from Vauxhall said: “The company committed to consult with employee representatives in order to look for potential opportunities to minimise the impact of these proposed headcount reductions
“This consultation will take place over a 45-day period in line with legal requirements.”
The plant has been producing Vauxhall’s Astra model since 1979 and turns out 680 cars a day.
However it is understood the plans come as the demand for five-door family cars — such as the Astra — is falling, while the market for SUVs grows.
Yet the Astra is the sixth most popular new car for British motorists this year, with more than 34,000 registered between January and July.
The four millionth Vauxhall Astra rolled off the production line at the factory in September.
Current manufacturing costs at Ellesmere Port are significantly higher than those of the benchmark plants of the PSA Group in France, according to Vauxhall.
In July, the European Commission waived through a £1.9 billion deal for French car giant PSA Group to buy Vauxhall owner Opel.
However, the takeover sparked concern in Britain about the effect on thousands of jobs at Vauxhall plants and supply companies.
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