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UK PM to meet Peugeot CEO over Vauxhall deal

Published 20 February 2017

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet PSA Group CEO to discuss the company's proposals to avquire General Motors' European operation, including Vauxhall.

Last week, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has met with PSA board members, the French Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue and with General Motors officials in London, BBC reported.

After these meetings, Clark said that he was assured about the operations of Vauxhall in the UK. At present,

Vauxhall has a workforce about 4500 at plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port and thousands more are involved in its retail and components chain.

Clark said: "There is some way to go in discussions between GM and PSA, but I was reassured by GM's intention, communicated to me, to build on the success of these operations rather than rationalise them.”

Trade union in the UK, Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey had talks with GM president Dan Ammann. After the meeting he said: “My immediate priority now is to understand where Peugeot is now in this process, which is why I am contacting the CEO of the company, Carlos Tavares, to request urgent talks.

“Unite is committed to talking to all the concerned parties in the UK, Germany and France to ensure that the case for the UK workers is pressed at the highest levels.

“But I also say this; our government should demand that whenever the car makers are meeting with the French and German governments, then the UK government must be at the same table.”

On the other hand, several European political and union leaders are also coming forward to protect jobs, after the announcement was made.

If the deal is complete, PSA Group would become the second largest automaker in terms of sales. Governments of France, Germany and the UK are reported to have concerns about the deal’s impact on the jobs within the brands.

The Wall Street Journal reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We will do everything that we can politically to keep jobs and factories in Germany safe.”

One of Germany’s trade union, IG Metall, stated that it will engage in constructive talks with PSA Group, once it acquires Opel and Vauxhall.

The union opined that the deal might increase job security at PSA, Peugeot Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall would come under a single group, which will be second only to Volkswagen.

But, according to Wall Street Journal, there are fears in the UK about sacrificing jobs at Vauxhall for the sake of protecting jobs at German and French Opel facilities.

Image: Officials and trade unions discuss about job safety in Opel, Vauxhall deal. Photo: Courtesy of Groupe PSA Direction de la communication.