Page last updated at 20:36 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Vauxhall job cut plans unveiled

vauxhall plant
There had been fears that far more jobs could be lost in the UK

Job losses at Vauxhall in the UK will total 354, according to proposals outlined by owner General Motors (GM), which was less than had been feared.

Under the plans, all the jobs would go at Vauxhall's Luton plant.

There would be no cuts at its Ellesmere Port plant, which makes the Vauxhall Astra, as it plans to increase production at the site.

Vauxhall employs 5,000 staff in the UK. The carmaker stressed that no final decision had been taken on job cuts.

On Wednesday, GM said it would cut 9,000 jobs across Europe as part of its restructuring plans, with the majority going from Opel's German workforce.

However, it said it planned to cut 5,425 jobs in Germany, 2,321 from its Antwerp plant in Belgium and 900 from its Zaragoza plant in Spain.

GM has said it expects to consult with plants across Europe before making a final decision on where exactly jobs will go next month.

Improved deal?

There had been fears that far more jobs could be lost in the UK.

Map showing Vauxhall workers in the UK

In October, the Unite union said it had reached a deal with the then proposed new owner of Vauxhall, car parts maker Magna, which would have seen about 600 jobs go, all through voluntary redundancy.

However, earlier this month GM cancelled the sale of its European arm to Magna, citing "an improving business environment" as the reason for holding onto Opel and Vauxhall.

Vauxhall currently employs 1,458 people at its Luton plant, which makes the Vivaro commercial van, and 2,166 people at its Ellesmere Port plant, where the Vauxhall Astra is made.

Vauxhall is due to launch its new Astra model next year.

"The proposed plan is for Ellesmere Port to move to a three-shift production operation in 2011," the company said in a statement.

The firm cut one of its three shifts in 2006.

"To support the launch in 2010 of the new Astra Sports Tourer and to prepare for the third shift introduction in 2011, the plan is for no redundancies as all current labour would need to be utilised to staff the third shift," Vauxhall said.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said he welcomed the news regarding Ellesmere Port.

"I hope that the workers at Ellesmere Port and Luton will get a speedy resolution in the next few weeks," he said.

"I keep in close contact with Nick Reilly, the interim head of GM in Europe, as well as other key players in GM, the Commission and member states."

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