VAUXHALL’S Ellesmere Port plant was hit by a wildcat strike yesterday (Tuesday) amid fears of mass job cuts.
A handful of employees in the press shop staged the unofficial action in protest at what they believe are 460 redundancies planned by GM Europe.
One worker told the Pioneer: “Men have walked out on strike because we fear Vauxhall is closing the press shop down. We fear that 50 men are going from there and others will go from around the plant.”
On February 21 officials of the Unite union at the plant sent a letter to members saying they feared a “savage attack” on jobs there.
Unite also suggested in the letter that local redundancies could be part of a scheme by Eric Stevens, vice-president of manufacturing at Vauxhall’s parent company General Motors, to shed a total of 5,136 jobs across Europe to achieve the 2008 business plan.
Vauxhall spokeswoman Jos Sharp said of the strike: “A small group of employees have taken unofficial industrial action based on information received from the trade union on Tuesday morning.
“GME and local management teams talk regularly to the appropriate employee representatives about ways to improve GME’s competitiveness.
“This unofficial action has had no impact on production at the plant.
“Moving forward we are continuing to work at full capacity and are scheduled to do so for the near future.”
Unite’s February 21 letter was signed by conveners John Fetherston, Phil Allman and Peter Fildes. A copy was sent anonymously to the Pioneer.
It said: “Eric Stevens indicated that possibly 5,136 jobs would be shed across all manufacturing plants in GM.
“The Ellesmere Port portion of this savage attack on jobs is 460.
“Although there have been no discussions in the plant, we are assuming this figure includes the proposed out-sourcing of cockpits, engine dress and doors.”
GME held talks about the company’s future plans and productivity in Russelsheim, Germany on February 15 and again last Thursday.
No-one from Unite at the plant was available for comment.