With the news emerging that General Motors is seeking to dispose of its European operations in a deal with Peugeot, the country’s biggest union has called for assurances over the future of the GM plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.
Commenting, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said: “The news of these emerging talks between General Motors and Peugeot is surprising. I am really disappointed and actually angry because only last year the President of GM gave me his personal assurances that there would be no surprises in terms of our plants’ futures. These commitments have clearly not been upheld.”
“But while this has come out of the blue, we are absolutely determined of one thing – UK plants will not be allowed to close. I have no intention of allowing GM to walk away from their promises and our plants and workers,” he continued. “So my message to the workers at Luton, Ellesmere Port and the tens of thousands in the wider supply chain is this, remain strong and stay united. The UK and the EU are among GM’s biggest markets globally – if they think that they can walk away from dedicated workers and loyal consumers without a care, they need to think again.
Unite believes that GM had a moral duty to stand by the UK workforce and has called for governement backing, similar to Nissan, to ensure that it maintains its UK car production when the UK leaves the European Union.
McCluskey also reiterated his call for the UK government to think again on its policy towards the European single market as the uncertainty is now clearly impacting on the future of flagship UK companies such as Vauxhall. “This union will not accept any job losses or plant closures as a result of this move by GM and Peugeot.”
“The UK market is largest market in the EU for Vauxhall/Opel so GM does have a moral obligation not to turn its back on the communities and workers who have helped make this company what it is today.”
“It does seem as if Brexit is a factor in GM’s thinking as its UK business relies heavily on its links throughout the EU supply chain. Without a shadow of doubt, UK car plants must be offered the same assurances as those given by government to Nissan,” he added.