Prince Charles visits car factory

The Prince of Wales has paid a visit to the Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port and spoken to staff about the struggles facing the industry.

He had a tour of the General Motors (GM) plant, which manufactures Astra cars and vans.

It has a workforce of 2,200 and every year produces 120,000 vehicles. However, manufacturing has reduced by 20% and a four-day week is now in operation.

Staff and their union, Unite, have come to an agreement with management to reduce hours by 10% and cut pay by 5% to bring down costs.

No redundancies have taken place at Ellesmere Port or at Vauxhall's Luton factory.

GM and the US, UK and German government are in talks about securing billions of taxpayers' money to see them through the recession.

The next generation Astra is set to go into production at the Ellesmere Port factory from September and GM says the future of the plant is safe.

Paul Misson, a shift manager from Chester, met Prince Charles and said: "He was quite interested in the new vehicle we are launching.

"We have just won a Green award which the Prince was really interested in. It's good he has come today, everybody has been excited about it."

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