LUXURY car maker Bentley is axing up to 300 jobs at its Crewe plant and extending the Christmas shutdown to five weeks because of a downturn in sales.
Bosses at the Pym’s Lane plant, which employs 3,800, are scrapping the nightshift and looking for voluntary redundancies.
But they are insisting compulsory redundancies are not on the cards at the moment.
“We’re moving two shifts into one,” said spokesman Mike Hawes. “At the moment we’re doing a three day week so there’s six shifts a week, that will come down to four shifts.”
He said while workers would be moved across shifts for a four day week, there would be a surplus of between 200 to 300.
“There will be re-training for those who could take on other roles in the company,” said Mr Hawes.
Meanwhile workers will be paid over the Christmas shutdown.
Normally that would be from December 23 to January 5 but this year it will run from December 11 to January 12.
Mr Hawes said they would be paid for the usual two-week break and the extra days would be “banked” and repaid when the market improved.
Bentley has blamed the need to cut production on a 20% fall in global sales.
Mr Hawes added: “We are seeing car purchases both in the UK and elsewhere declining. Most manufacturers are reducing production.”
He said the situation in the United States – normally a lucrative market for Bentley – was also having an effect.
While Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson added: “They (Bentley) have kept me and their staff fully informed of the situation, and whilst I am obviously concerned about how the downturn has affected them, I commend them for the way in which they have handled themselves in difficult circumstances.
“I understand they are working well with the unions, and think that the Government could take a leaf out of their book by treating the staff of the sorting office and tax office in a similarly respectful manner.”