The uncertainty felt by Belgian workers after the news that Magna would buy Opel and Vauxhall was matched by the 5,500-strong British workforce of GM Europe.
Unions had said that Magna would be the least favourable option in terms of saving British jobs. That view was echoed by one worker outside Vauxhall’s Luton plant: “The Canadian company is more into saving the German jobs than the British jobs so that’s the main worry.” The British government must now negotiate hard with Magna to save as many jobs as possible at Vauxhall’s Luton and Ellesmere Port plants. Business Minister Pat McFadden was hopeful for Vauxhall’s employees, saying: “Our objective and the discussions that will happen about government finance and support for a restructured GM Europe will be about securing the future of those plants. We’ve had assurances on that from Magna and we want to make sure that those stick in the future.” Vauxhall’s British workers, just like Opel’s Belgian employees, at least know who they will be working for. What they do not know is for how long.