Luton workers’ “competitive performance” played a large part in GM awarding the Vivaro contract to the British plant today (24 March).

Speculation as to the site’s future has been swirling for a considerable time, but union sources are now claiming the agreement has secured 1,500 jobs until 2020.

“I would say the competitive performance of the workers at this plant was a pre-requisite for the van to be considered,” said Opel/Vauxhall CEO Nick Reilly at a press conference to announce the decision.

“The right decision for GM was to keep the plant here, but it would not have been had the work force not performed in recent years.

“In terms of labour relations [they] are excellent and there is a very good rapport between management and unions to increase performance. That was an influence on the decision and had it not been the case, that would have been a significant negative.”

Reilly declined to be drawn on any implications of today’s Vivaro news in terms of future potential Ampera production at Ellesmere Port, also in the UK.

Some 20% of production will be in the UK, with 80% destined for export.