Vauxhall Cheshire site to remain closed until September

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Car production at the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port site will not resume until September at the earliest.

And parent company Groupe PSA said it is looking to redeploy more than 200 of the Cheshire site’s 1,100-strong workforce to its Luton van manufacturing plant in the meantime, on a voluntary basis.

It said demand for Luton’s vehicles is such, that a third shift is now required at the plant.

PSA announced on March 16 that it was closing all its manufacturing sites as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Initially, it said the closures would last until March 27.

But while the Luton site reopened on May 18, the owner said there is not enough demand, yet, for Ellesmere Port’s Astra/Opel models to warrant a return to work.

The Luton site makes Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro vans, Peugeot Expert vans and Citroën Dispatch vans.

A statement by Groupe PSA said: “The commercial situation of Vauxhall and Opel Astra requires the restarting of Ellesmere Port operations after September 1.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, Groupe PSA’s priority has been to protect the health of its employees and ensure the sustainability of the company.

“Manufacturing activity at Groupe PSA’s Luton site commenced on 18th May after the deployment of a protocol of reinforced health measures.

“The success of the Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch produced there now requires a third shift to increase output at the site.

“Representatives of Vauxhall Motors met with trade union representatives of the Vauxhall National Joint Negotiating Committee today in order to set out plans to redeploy labour from Ellesmere Port to Luton plant on a voluntary basis for a temporary period.

“The company proposal will protect employment and support the ability to respond to significant demand for LCV production with highly-trained and skilled workers from the Ellesmere Port site, while demand for Astra is building sufficiently.”