THE future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant has been secured for years after workers agreed to a “ground-breaking” pay and conditions deal clearing the way for investment worth £125 million.
Vauxhall announced the next generation of its Astra model will be built at the Merseyside site, creating 700 direct jobs and 3,000 positions in firms which supply the plant with parts and services.
Chairman Duncan Aldred, who first worked at the factory 20 years ago as a graduate, said it was a “historic day” for Vauxhall.
The factory, whose future had been under threat, will move from two to three shift working to build the new Astra, while “unprecedented” levels of flexibility will be introduced.
Confirmation of the investment followed a 94% vote in favour of a new pay and conditions package by the 2,100 workers at the site.
Assembly of the new car is scheduled to start in 2015, with a minimum of 160,000 vehicles to be produced each year, 20,000 more than last year.
Vauxhall will also raise the local supply content for the Astra to at least 25% which will create further employment locally and in the UK.
The new deal will see a four-year pay agreement, including a two-year wage freeze from 2013, production on 51 weeks a year and scrapping of the traditional summer and other closures which have been a part of UK industry for decades.
The Prime Minister, motor industry leaders and union officials all welcomed the development, which followed news that the number of cars built in the UK last month was almost 10% up on a year ago, boosted by strong export demand.
Mr Aldred said: “This is great news for the Ellesmere Port plant, our employees, the local community, our suppliers, the Vauxhall brand and the UK. We have been able to develop a responsible labour agreement that secures the plant’s future.