Ellesmere Port Plant was close to closure 0
Duncan Aldred revealed today possibly the worst kept secret at Vauxhall, the Ellesmere plant almost closed down. Since the European mass car market has slowed down over recent years, Vauxhall along with many other European mass car producers have been severely affected.
Over the years there have been job losses, profit dips and poor sales. Despite that Vauxhall have managed to keep the Ellesmere plant open, the company’s most famous factory.
The Opel plant in Bochum, Germany was also thought to be on the hit list of European potential plant closures. In December of 2013 it was announced that this plant would close down by the end of 2016. This news came as a real shame especially considering that the car plant has been producing cars for over 50 years.
When news broke out of bleak future for the Ellesmere Port factory in 2012, there was a major outcry with major protests being held. No doubt it would have affected the UK car market in a negative manner as well the economy with 2,100 job losses.
How Ellesmere was saved
In 2012 Vauxhall owners General Motors decided upon restructuring it’s European operations. However a deal to build the new generation Vauxhall Astra has safeguarded the plant to remain open until 2020 at the very least.
Mr Aldred today said how Vauxhall had worked with trade Unions to save the plant, putting a case together justifying exactly why it should stay open. The case included a number of ground-breaking workplace initiatives. A deal was concluded with the Unite trade union with a four year agreement covering pay and conditions. Employees in essence had a two year pay freeze whilst being able to work up to 40 hours a week with the plant operating for up to 51 weeks a year.
High hopes from Aldred
Duncan Aldred is departing as Chairman and Director of Vauxhall Motors and is taking up a new post at General Motors. His new job will be based in Detroit. He leaves remaining optimistic about the UK car market, claiming it could grow by as much as 5%. This is quite a lot higher that the estimations of the UK industry body, the SMMT who predicted a rise of 4%.
If Vauxhall and General Motors’ European operations are to prosper, it is important that production does not over exceed the demand. Demand for brand new family vehicles also need to improve in the UK and Europe. Let’s hope the Ellesmere Port Plant remains until 2020 and beyond.