Unite: “Optimistic” outlook on working with PSA to ensure future of UK plants tempered by firm’s Brexit worries

Unite leader Len McCluskey today (January 21) balanced optimism about working with auto-manufacturer PSA on the future of firm’s UK plants with concerns that Brexit may affect the firm’s investment decisions.

McCluskey called on business secretary Gregg Clark to assuage the company’s Brexit fears by ensuring “that the UK government does all it can to create the climate for PSA investment.”

McCluskey’s comments came after he met with PSA boss Carlos Tavares in Paris this morning to discuss plans for the firm’s UK automotive plants.

The carmaker has announced it is seeking 250 additional redundancies at its Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port on top of the 400 announced last October – more than a third of the 1,800 strong workforce.

PSA has warned that investment in the UK is likely to be impacted by the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

Speaking after the meeting, McCluskey said: “Today’s was a helpful meeting. We had a frank exchange and are now clear on our respective positions.

“Carlos Tavares repeated his desire not to close UK plants, which is reassuring. He also talked of working with Unite to construct a roadmap for future operations in the UK, again encouraging.

“On behalf of Unite, I repeated our determination to safeguard the UK plants and if needs be our willingness to disrupt PSA’s UK market share if the company fails to support this loyal workforce.

“I remain optimistic, however, that we can work constructively with PSA, albeit with the uncertainty and confusion caused by Brexit being a consideration for the company.

“That is why I will also be pressing the business secretary Greg Clark, to ensure that the UK government does all it can to create the climate for PSA investment.

“I will be seeking a meeting with the secretary of state on this as soon as possible because there is no time to lose. The three parties – PSA, Unite and the UK government – must work together now to give our plants a future.”