Vauxhall has confirmed its Ellesmere Port site will not reopen until September.

The site, which makes the Astra, closed its doors on March 17 as the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown took hold.

Parent company Groupe PSA says the plant will not now reopen for three months – but some staff from Cheshire could be redeployed to Vauxhall in Luton to help that site make more vans, reports Business Live.

Production at Luton restarted on May 18 with workers building the Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch vans.

Groupe PSA today said it needed to increase Luton to a three-shift operation to meet the demand for those vehicles.

It said: “The commercial situation of Vauxhall and Opel Astra requires the restarting of Ellesmere Port operations after September 1.”

And it added: “Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, Groupe PSA’s priority has been to protect the health of its employees and ensure the sustainability of the company. Manufacturing activity at Groupe PSA’s Luton site commenced on 18th May after the deployment of a protocol of reinforced health measures.

“The success of the Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro, Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch produced there now requires a third shift to increase output at the site.

“Representatives of Vauxhall Motors met with Trade Union representatives of the Vauxhall National Joint Negotiating Committee today in order to set out plans to redeploy labour from Ellesmere Port to Luton Plant on a voluntary basis for a temporary period.

“The Company proposal will protect employment and support the ability to respond to significant demand for LCV production with highly trained and skilled workers for the Ellesmere Port site, while demand for Astra is building sufficiently.”

The Ellesmere Port plant, which employs some 1,000 people, built more than 60,000 Astras last year.