Job cut blow for GM Luton plant

Posted on 1 Dec 2009 by The Manufacturer

Vauxhall’s Luton plant is set to lose over 350 employees as General Motors begins scaling back its European operations.

The US firm decided last month to keep GM Europe, pulling out of a deal to sell it to Canadian car parts maker Magna, after experiencing an upturn in its fortunes the other side of the Atlantic. It also began making repayments on the massive state loans that it took from the US government to stay afloat earlier this year, five years ahead of schedule.

GM is expected to make around 9,000 employees redundant in Europe in its bid to make the faction profitable again. Many of these are expected to be incurred in Germany but 354 of the 1,500 employees at the Luton Vauxhall van making plant find out today that they too will bear the cross.

The boss of the US operation, Fritz Henderson, recently gave Vauxhall’s other Uk plant – Ellesmere Port on Merseyside – a boost by commenting that the firm sees the site as an important part of its future. The plant makes the Astra marque, including a new model, and is due to step up to a three production shift schedule in 2011 and may possibly build a hybrid.

“We feel very good about the (Ellesmere Port) plant,” said Henderson. “Ellesmere Port is the lead plant building our new Astra. If that’s not a better signal about the future of the plant, I don’t know what is.”