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 General Motors (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.
“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.
“To Peugeot I say, talk to us. Our members have helped to make the UK auto industry the most competitive and productive in Europe and will do so again with the right backing.
“I also have a message to the UK government, which is do not sit on the sidelines. Intervene, work with us to create a new future for these plants. The French government certainly is not sitting idle – they have a 13 per cent stake in Peugeot and they have given their blessing to this deal. We want UK auto workers to feel the same sense that their government is backing them.
“This is a real test for the government and its much-vaunted industrial strategy. To be worth the paper it is written on it has to see a role for government in securing our skilled manufacturing base. That means stepping up and stepping in to secure our automotive sector now.”
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Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.