UK union seeks meeting with Peugeot over potential Fiat tie-up fears

The logo of Peugeot carmaker is seen on a vehicle in Cairo, Egypt, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest trade union Unite wants a meeting with management at French carmaker Peugeot over its possible tie-up with Fiat Chrysler, saying merger talks and uncertainty over Brexit are “deeply unsettling” for workers at British plants.

Peugeot-owner PSA operates a southern English van factory in Luton and a car plant in Ellesmere port, near Liverpool, building vehicles badged under the Vauxhall brand in Britain and Opel on the rest of the continent.

The automaker said in June a decision to keep its British car plant open by building the next generation Astra model “was conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union.”

Since then, Brexit has been delayed from Oct. 31 until the end of January with voters due to elect a new government in mid December.

The two carmakers confirmed on Wednesday that they are holding discussions aimed at creating one of the world’s leading automakers, with one source saying a deal could be announced as early as Thursday.

“Merger talks combined with Brexit uncertainty is deeply unsettling for Vauxhall’s UK workforce which is one of the most efficient in Europe,” said Unite National Officer Des Quinn.

“The fact remains, merger or not, if PSA wants to use a great British brand like Vauxhall to sell cars and vans in the UK, then it has to make them here in the UK.”

A spokesman at Vauxhall was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Stephen Addison