2,200 Vauxhall Motors employees caught up in brinkmanship
THE 2,200 workers at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant were caught up in a Europe-wide show of brinkmanship today as its parent company General Motors (GM) sought to pressurise governments into providing £3bn in financial support.
GM Europe has warned it will hit liquidity problems in the second quarter and threatened that up to 300,000 jobs were at risk across Europe, with 50,000 directly employed by the firm, if it ran out of money.
However the renewed claims about the viability of the European company were overshadowed by a row about the future of its UK sites.
Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe’s president, was reported as saying "the next step would be closure" for Ellesmere Port and its sister plant in Luton unless the company receives support from the UK Government.
"We are very lean in the UK, in Ellesmere Port, same in Luton," he said. "Obviously the next step would be the complete closure. Obviously that's what we try and avoid.
"But if we don't get support from the Government we will have to close down."
GM UK issued a strong response hours later stating "there are no plans for [Vauxhall in the UK] to be axed". They said his comments were only in relation to needing EU government support for GM Europe as a whole in order to restructure and was not a direct threat to the UK sites.
3 March 2009 14.26:
VAUXHALL’S Ellesmere Port plant could be closed down if its parent company General Motors does not get Government support, the company warned today.
GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, said the slump in car sales meant the company would be left with little choice but to consider plant closures if it was not given state aid.
Vauxhall employs more than 2,000 people in Ellesmere Port. The plant is set to start building the new Astra in September.
Mr Forster told Sky News
: "We are very lean in the UK, in Ellesmere Port, same in Luton.
"Obviously the next step would be the complete closure.
"Obviously that's what we try and avoid. But if we don’t get support from the Government we will have to close down."
The German government has already signalled it may support GM’s German business Opel. THE LIVERPOOL ECHO