Frank Field MP
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Birkenhead MP leading investigation into Vauxhall workers' pensions after company sold to French car giant

13 March 2017
Wirral Globe

BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field is leading an investigation into workers' pensions following the sale of Vauxhall to PSA Peugeot Citroën.

The French car giant announced last week it is to buy the European operations of General Motors, including Vauxhall in the UK, for £1.9 billion.

The announcement ended weeks of speculation about the deal and its impact on thousands of jobs at Vauxhall plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton.

Vauxhall employs 1,830 staff at its factory in Ellesmere Port, home of the Astra, and a further 1,530 in Luton, where they make the Vivaro van.

Mr Field, who chairs the Commons works and pensions committee, said he wants to know whether the sale of the company will hit the pensions of thousands of past and present workers at both plants.

There are thought to be about 15,000 members in the Vauxhall scheme.

Around 4,800 staff have yet to be given commitments beyond the early 2020s as to whether PSA intends to keep manufacturing in the UK.

Now Mr Field has written to Rob Assinder, chairman of the GM(UK) pension trustees to know what role they played and whether Mr Assinder was party to negotiations.

His committee is also asking what assurances were given about the scheme; what dialogue Mr Assinder had with the Pensions Regulator and whether the trustees are happy with the outcome.

The MP has also written to Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of the Pensions Regulator, to establish if it has been involved in the sale, whether there is any “material detriment” to members of the scheme and what steps the watchdog has taken to satisfy itself.

When the takeover deal was finally sealed, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said thousands of Vauxhall workers had endured a “nerve-racking” few weeks.

“While initial discussions with the PSA Group have been relatively positive our priority now is to ensure a long-term future for our plants and the tens of thousands of workers depending on them,” he said.

Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said he has written to business secretary Greg Clark requesting an urgent meeting.

His letter asks for an assurance over Government intervention "to protect the future of the Elllesmere Port plant."

PSA has reportedly told the business secretary it will stick to plans which would see the Astra manufactured at Ellesmere Port until at least 2021, and engines and other vehicles made at Luton until 2024.


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