Official: GM to build next-gen Astra in UK at Ellesmere Port image

General Motors today confirmed that production of its next-generation Astra compact vehicle will be built at the company’s manufacturing plant at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

Ellesmere Port will be the leadplant of only two in Europe building the new model.

Mr Cable said: “Huge efforts have been made to try to secure the future of the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port and the Government has played an important role in making the progress we have so far.

“Today’s decision to ballot the workforce signals a very strong vote of confidence by General Motors in the UK automotive industry and is the culmination of weeks of hard work and behind-the-scenes talking between the company, the unions and the Government.

The deal will secure the jobs of 2,100 staff at the Vauxhall plant and provide a huge boost to the British government, which is grappling with a recession and weak opinion poll ratings.

The deal will not only save 2,100 jobs at the plant but lead to around 700 extra jobs, an extra third shift to ensure 24-hour a day running and, significantly, the introduction of weekend working to ensure the factory works ‘at full capacity.’

Doubts over Ellesmere Port’s future emerged at the beginning of the year, when a delegation of GM executives warned UK politicians and trade union officials that severe cost cuts would be needed across its Opel/Vauxhall European arm.

Vauxhall is the UK arm of Opel, GM’s European unit.

The automotive sector still accounts for more than one tenth of Britain’s total exports and employs more than 700,000 people.