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Lifeline thrown to Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port

Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port has agreements to build the Astra until 2021 Credit: PA

The leader of the UNITE Union says that the boss of Peugeot has given assurances that Britain's Vauxhall plants will see out their existing production runs, but also raised the issue of Brexit uncertainty.

Len McCluskey, Unite's general secretary, said he came away from a meeting with PSA Group chief executive Carlos Tavares without his "optimism being dented" and said their discussion had been "open and relatively positive". Mr McCluskey also said that Mr Tavares was "very pro-union" and talked about "not being here to shut plants".

Ellesmere Port has agreements in place to build the Vauxhall Astra until 2021, while the Luton plant is under contract to manufacture the Vauxhall Vivaro van until 2025.

However, The PSA boss is said to have raised the issue of uncertainty surrounding Britain's future outside the European Union during talks over PSA's proposed takeover of General Motor's loss-making European arm.

The news comes after Mr Tavares said on Thursday that the deal could result in "speedy" cost savings and as the car industry braces for the potential impact of life outside the single market.

Len McCluskey says he's that the early signs are positive.

I had a constructive meeting with the chief executive in which I made the case for how important Vauxhall is to the UK, the excellence of its plants and operations across the UK and how successful they have been.

The meeting was reassuring. We discussed how PSA's approach is to increase market share and expand production, rather than close plants. I was assured that the commitments to the plants would be honoured.

There was also recognition that members of the Vauxhall pension fund will be no worse off.

– Greg Clark, Business Secretary

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Bishop rededicates historic cross in St Peter’s Square

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, has led a ceremony to bless the historic St Peter’s Square cross, acknowledging the former religious importance of the area as the square’s transformation celebrates its final phase. The cross marks the site of the St Peter’s Square church that stood on the spot from 1788, from which the Square is named (then known as St Peter’s Fields), until 1907.

St Peter's Church in 1907 Credit: Manchester City Council

Since 2013, St Peter’s Square has been the site of huge transformation, including the Metrolink expansion, a new St Peter’s Square tram stop and the relocation of the cenotaph. Work is expected to be completed in the next few months.

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Threat of strike action by nuclear staff

Union leaders representing thousands of nuclear workers are to discuss calling a strike ballot in a row over pensions. Staff at firms in Warrington and Cumbria are among 16000 workers at 19 sites facing cuts according to unions. They claim the Nuclear Decommisiong Authority has to make savings of £660million.

Staff working at Sellafield, Cumbria are among those who may be affected Credit: pa

The unions said the Government's expectation is that the final salary pension schemes in place across the NDA estate will be reformed by April 2018. They're describing the cuts as an attack on the pensions of nuclear workers and their communities. Unions are expected to meet within the next few days.

Doddy opens new look market

Liverpool funnyman Ken Dodd is opening a new look market in the city. Doddy is the guest of honour at the opening of St Johns Market. Its been closed since July for a 2 million pound refurbishment.

Artist's impression of the new look St John's Market Credit: Liverpool City Council

Traders and shoppers had complained that the market had a dated 70's feel prompting the refurbishment.
There will be a new modernised entrance on Elliot Street, and an increase in the number of stalls – up from 120 to 140 traders, as well as space for ‘pop-up’ specialist markets such as antiques, craft or vintage clothing.

Ken Dodd will open the new market Credit: pa
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