Prime Minister Theresa May to meet Peugeot boss to discuss Vauxhall takeover deal

 
Jasper Jolly
FRANCE-AUTO-PSA-PLAN-TAVARES
Peugeot boss Carlos Tavares will meet the Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet the boss of Peugeot SA to discuss the group’s takeover bid for General Motors’ (GM) European operations, including British brand Vauxhall.

May has been invited to meet the chair of the managing board of Peugeot SA (PSA), Carlos Tavares, to discuss the deal.

A Downing Street spokesperson confirmed there was an invitation to meet, and that it would take place subject to diary availability. The Prime Minister’s office did not confirm a specific date for the meeting.

Read more: Here's what Greg Clark had to say about his talks with PSA over Vauxhall

The deal, which would create the second largest European carmaker after Germany's Volkswagen, has raised fears of job cuts at Vauxhall's British factories.

On Tuesday it emerged PSA was in talks to merge with Opel, GM's European marque which also controls the Vauxhall brand. The companies said they were looking at ways of "improving profitability and operational efficiency."

Tavares revived the French carmaker's fortunes through a series of cost- and job-cutting measures, which has left unions in Germany and Britain, in which Opel and Vauxhall are based, scrambling to receive assurances jobs will not be lost.

The union Unite has pressured the government to provide assurances similar to those offered to Nissan in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote that it would not be negatively affected by a post-Brexit trade deal.

Read more: Unite wants Nissan assurances for Vauxhall plants in the UK

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, will also meet PSA's bosses next week.

He said: “I am pleased that Carlos Tavares has responded speedily and positively to my request for a meeting to discuss Peugeot’s intentions towards our Vauxhall plants."

I will be using this meeting to press the case for the UK’s world class facilities and workforce, and ensuring that Mr Tavares and the PSA Group understand fully that Luton, Toddington and Ellesmere Port, and thousands of dedicated UK workers, deserve a strong backer and a positive future.

The UK's business secretary, Greg Clark, has already met with the French government and PSA. He said the company "stressed that they valued highly the enduring strength of the Vauxhall brand, underpinned by its committed workforce," but he received no assurances on the safety of jobs.

Vauxhall employs 4,500 people at plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton, before the thousands of retail workers in dealerships throughout the UK are taken into account.

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