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Britain’s Vauxhall cars to cut 400 jobs: PSA spokesman

French carmaker PSA announced on March 6, 2017, the acquisition of General Motors’ European subsidiary, which includes the Opel and Vauxhall brands, for 1.9 billion GBP
’s Vauxhall cars, which was this summer taken over by French automaker PSA, is planning to cut 400 jobs at one of its factories by the end of the year, a PSA spokesman said Friday. The voluntary redundancies planned for the Ellesmere Port plant in northwest England are in response to “challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market”, he told AFP. “Vauxhall tabled a plan that encompasses a move towards single shift operation at Ellesmere Port during 2018 and a voluntary separation programme for eligible employees amounting to approximately 400 heads by the end of 2017,” the spokesman said.
The company will discuss the plan with employee representatives during a 45-day consultation period.
PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands, became ’s second biggest carmaker after Volkswagen in August when it bought Vauxhall and German brand Opel from US auto giant General Motors.
The takeover prompted concern about job losses in Britain, where Vauxhall directly employs about 5,000 people, most of them in two factories – in Ellesmere Port and in Luton, in the southeast of England.
Prime Minister Theresa May personally sought assurances from PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares during a phone call in February.
The spokesman said Friday that the group could not commit to further investment until there was more clarity on Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union.
“Once it has enough visibility on the future trading relationship with the EU, and the plant competitiveness has been addressed, the company will be in a position to consider future investments,” he said.
He said current manufacturing costs at Ellesmere Port are “significantly higher than those of the benchmark plants of the PSA Group in ”.
“Facing challenging European market conditions and a declining passenger car market, Vauxhall needs to adjust production volumes at its Ellesmere Port production facility to the current level of demand and to improve its performance, in order to protect its future,” he said.
He added: “The company has every confidence in the capability and skills of the Ellesmere Port workforce to deliver the necessary improvements in financial performance.
“PSA Group affirms that it is committed to the Astra plant at Ellesmere Port.”