Vauxhall: Business Secretary Greg Clarke 'reassured' by General Motors over 4,500 UK jobs

GM would not confirm that plants would remain open, stating only that it aimed to 'put the business and the operations in the strongest possible position for the future'

Ben Chapman
Thursday 16 February 2017 17:29
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Mr Clarke arranged an emergency meeting with GM's president Dan Amman on Thursday after the company announced it was in talks to sell its European subsidiary, Opel, which includes Vauxhall
Mr Clarke arranged an emergency meeting with GM's president Dan Amman on Thursday after the company announced it was in talks to sell its European subsidiary, Opel, which includes Vauxhall

The Government's business secretary, Greg Clark, said on Thursday that General Motors had reassured him over the future of Vauxhall's UK operations.

Mr Clarke arranged an emergency meeting with GM's president Dan Amman on Thursday after the company announced it was in talks to sell its European subsidiary, Opel, which includes Vauxhall.

The business secretary told reporters after the meeting that Mr Amman said GM would not "rationalise" Vauxhall's UK production operations.

GM's plan to sell the business to PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, has alarmed politicians in Britain and Germany, where there are fears that a sale could lead to heavy job losses. Vauxhall employs 4,500 people at its Ellesmere Port and Luton plants.

But Mr Clark said he had held constructive talks with GM on Thursday.

“There is some way to go in discussions between GM and PSA but I was reassured by GM's intention, communicated to me, to build on the success of these operations rather than rationalise them,” Clark said in a statement. “We will continue to be in close contact with GM and PSA in the days and weeks ahead.”

GM said in a written statement after the meeting that it had "no definitive news to report at this time", adding that it would be "exploring opportunities with PSA Group to build on the success of Opel Vauxhall and to put the business and the operations in the strongest possible position for the future.

“We look forward to engaging with our stakeholders as part of these ongoing discussions,” the company said.

The chief executives of both PSA and GM went on a charm offensive on Wednesday to counter a raft of criticism from trade unions.

PSA and GM have declined to say what cuts they would make to jobs, plants, production capacity or research and development under the deal being discussed.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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