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Union anger as Vauxhall cut 850 jobs

UNION leaders last night feared Vauxhall's plans to cut 850 jobs from its Ellesmere Port plant were just the beginning.

UNION leaders last night feared Vauxhall's plans to cut 850 jobs from its Ellesmere Port plant were just the beginning.

The factory has been given stringent targets for cost-cutting in a worldwide efficiency drive by US parent company General Motors.

TheDaily Post revealed in December that 150 jobs would be lost through voluntary redundancy but Vauxhall denied factory talk that another 800 were to go.

Yesterday it was revealed the company will shed a total of 850 at the plant as part of the shake-up.

Last night Bill Morris, general secretary of the TGWU, demanded Vauxhall must "come clean over its plans for the UK".

He said: "First they said Luton must close to make them more efficient and they transferred work to Ellesmere Port. Now, before the ink is hardly dry on that move, they are starting the attack on Ellesmere Port."

Vauxhall, which employs 4,500 workers at Ellesmere Port, said a limited number of early retirement and separation packages were being offered but compulsory redundancies were not expected.

The car giant will soon end Vectra production at Luton with the loss of 2,000 jobs. It is being switched to Ellesmere Port, which will also make the Astra.

Vauxhall hopes the new Vectra will help it win the battle for market supremacy with the likes of the Ford Mondeo. It has more than 30 sensors including tyre pressure monitoring and window wipers which start automatically in the rain.

The first test models came off the production line earlier this month in time for the April launch.

Tony Woodley, TGWU chief negotiator for the car industry, added: "How can you lose 850 people, voluntary or otherwise, and still keep three shifts making two cars? It cannot be done.

"If we lose a shift at Ellesmere Port then the viability of the plant must come into question."

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amicus union, claimed Ellesmere Port workers were being "dumped on." He said: "Ellesmere Port has a committed and highly-skilled workforce who deserve better treatment than this.

"We were promised that the pain of job losses would be shared across Europe but once again it is British workers who have been dumped on."

Union sources said around half the jobs would be "outsourced" to another firm while the others would go through voluntary redundancy.

National secretaries of unions will raise their concerns with Vauxhall's senior managers tomorrow.

Last night a Vauxhall Motors spokesman said: "Discussions continue to be held with the trade unions to improve Ellesmere Port's lean and flexible operations.

"A limited number of early retirement and separation packages will continue to be offered and no compulsory redundancies are expected. The final details have yet to be concluded.

"We are also continuing to look at ways to work more closely with our supplier base in the area. Ellesmere Port is currently seeing the benefit of £200m investment to build the new Vectra from the spring for export across Europe."..SUPL:


David Holmes
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