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3 Aug 2009

The government will fight for every last job at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port – that was the message from Business Secretary Peter Mandelson last week.


His visit coincided with reports that more than 800 jobs at the plant could be axed if Canadian bidder Magna International succeeds in its attempt to take over Vauxhall and sister firm Opel in Germany as European subsidiaries of recently restructured US car giant General Motors (GM).


The Ellesmere Port plant employs 2,200 workers to build the robust and reliable models enjoyed by Vauxhall-driving fuel card users.


Up to 20 per cent of GM’s European workforce could go if Magna succeeds in its bid, including 354 workers at Vauxhall’s smaller Luton plant.


This possibility should sadden every British driver, whether a fuel card user or not. In the midst of a recession, the very last thing the hard-hit British motoring industry needs is further redundancies and dismemberment.


It is a hard world, and the British motoring industry needs to be competitive on the global stage. But why is it only now that we hear solid pledges of government support for the Vauxhall workers, when takeover talks have been rumbling on in Germany for months?


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