Peter Mandelson, business secretary, is to meet the new owners of Vauxhall to discern how many of the UK’s 5,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the take over of the UK car manufacturer from the failing US firm General Motors.
Over the weekend he secured a pledge that the company’s future in Britain is secure and he will now meet executives from Magna International to determine the extent to which production will need to be scaled back in Britain.
Mandelson said: “We have to encourage Magna to pin down their commitment here in the UK. Frankly, in contrast to Fiat [a former bid contender], Magna’s business plans were vaguer. At least Fiat was clear.”
Magna International has agreed to secure the bulk of Britain’s 5,000 Vauxhall jobs, but Mandelson has conceded production will need to be cut.
It is thought the Luton factory is more vulnerable than Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire.
Unite’s joint secretary Derek Simpson previously warned if manufacturing jobs, like those at Vauxhall, are lost in the UK during this recession they will never be recovered.
He said: “It’s no good providing billions to the banks but buttons for manufacturing. Thousands of jobs are at stake at Luton and Ellesmere Port. Once lost they won’t return, our manufacturing capability and the UK’s R&D base will be left hamstrung.”