GM has turned its Ellesmere Port plant into “a no-go area for media amid ongoing speculation over its future,” says The Guardian. Staff and suppliers have been told to avoid reporters. “Attempts to photograph Astras awaiting delivery at the site’s distribution centre prompt a visit from security guards who ask the Guardian to desist,” says the paper.
There are 2,800 workers in the plant itself and some 7,000 workers in the supply chain that would lose their jobs when Ellesmere Port closes. No wonder that media attention is high.
Vauxhall does not think that job losses are unsettling, media attention is. A statement by Vauxhall that explains the media shutdown says:
“To be and stay competitive is key in the automotive manufacturing environment, where a plant’s performance is tightly measured. The Ellesmere Port plant is very competitive and we need to make sure our employees are able to focus on the job in hand to maintain this. Negative media speculation perpetuating over the last weeks is far from helpful and we therefore do not welcome media speculating on the plant’s future on our premises.”
Meanwhile in Germany, the meeting of Opel’s supervisory board ended with a virtual lockout of the media. Reporters were fobbed-off with a non-statement that says:
“All involved agree that Opel must work in a profitable manner and must undertake efforts to increase sales, to improve margins and to reduce costs.“