Union chiefs seek talks after Vauxhall owner announces merger plan

Dec 19, 2019

The Vauxhall factory at Luton.

UNION leaders are seeking urgent talks with Vauxhall’s parent company Groupe PSA after it confirmed its plans to merge with fellow automotive giant Fiat Chrysler.

Unite officials are seeking watertight guarantees on the long-term future of manufacturing in the UK, including Vauxhall’s Vivaro van range at Luton.

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “It is essential that such a meeting happens as soon as possible in order to alleviate the natural and legitimate concerns of the workforce at this time of change and uncertainty.”

Groupe PSA, which also owns Peugeot, has signed a binding Combination Agreement confirming a 50-50 merger with Fiat Chrysler. The new business will become the fourth largest automotive manufacturer in the world.

It will be particularly well placed to provide innovative, clean and sustainable mobility solutions. The gains in efficiency derived from larger volumes, as well as the benefits of uniting the two companies’ strengths and core competencies, will ensure the combined business offers best-in-class products, technologies and services and respond with increased agility to the shift taking place in the sector, said a spokesman.

The Vivaro van range is manufactured at Vauxhall’s Luton plant.

Mr Quinn said: “Unite is seeking guarantees at the highest level as to the long-term future of all PSA’s UK sites and its highly skilled world class workforce. Unite will also be seeking guarantees about new investment to ensure that the company’s UK factories are able to continue to build high quality cars and vans to meet the challenges of the transition to electric vehicles.

“The confirmation of the merger means that the new company will have an even greater share of the UK marketplace with both the Vauxhall and Fiat brands both being well known names on the UK’s roads. This further strengthens the industrial logic of maintaining a manufacturing presence in the UK.”

The combined company will have annual unit sales of 8.7 million vehicles, with revenues of nearly €170 billion.

Carlos Tavares, chairman of Groupe PSA’s managing board, said: “Our merger is a huge opportunity to take a stronger position in the auto industry as we seek to master the transition to a world of clean, safe and sustainable mobility and to provide our customers with world-class products, technology and services. I have every confidence that with their immense talent and their collaborative mindset, our teams will succeed in delivering maximized performance with vigor and enthusiasm.”

FCA chief executive Mike Manley added: “This is a union of two companies with incredible brands and a skilled and dedicated workforce. Both have faced the toughest of times and have emerged as agile, smart, formidable competitors. Our people share a common trait – they see challenges as opportunities to be embraced and the path to making us better at what we do.”

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