700 new jobs at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant

New Astra to be built at Ellesmere Port Photo: ITV

700 new jobs will be created at Ellesmere Port after a £125 million investment in Vauxhall's car plant.

The car giant announced that the next generation of its Astra model will be built at the firm's factory in Cheshire guaranteeing the future of the plant into the next decade.

Around 700 new jobs will be created at the site, with another 3,000 positions in firms which supply the plant with parts and services.

Vauxhall chairman Duncan Aldred, who first worked at the Ellesmere Port factory 20 years ago as a graduate, said it was a "historic day" for Vauxhall.

The factory will move from two to three shift working to build the new Astra, while "unprecedented" levels of flexibility will be introduced.

Confirmation of the investment followed a 94% vote in favour of a new pay and conditions package by the 2,100 workers at the site.

Mr Aldred said:

"This is great news for the Ellesmere Port plant, our employees, the local community, our suppliers, the Vauxhall brand and the UK. We have been able to develop a responsible labour agreement that secures the plant's future.

The new workforce agreement comes into force in 2013 and runs through the life of the next generation Astra, into the early 2020s.

Assembly of the new car is scheduled to start in 2015, with a minimum of 160,000 vehicles to be produced each year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he was "proud" to be at the factory for the announcement, describing it as a "very great day".

Mr Cable travelled to the United States to lobby Vauxhall owners General Motors on behalf of Ellesmere Port, saying today that its case "made itself".

He added: "They wanted an assurance that the Government was behind the industry, which we are. The car industry in the UK is a great success story.

"This is a success for team working. We have had business, unions and Government working together in a very productive partnership."

Members of the Unite union backed the new package by 94% after voting over the past few days.