Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 48 Number 23, December 1, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Workers' Forum

Vauxhall Workers Strike to Demand a Halt to the Multinational's Plans

Vauxhall workers react as they arrive to work at Vauxhall's plant in Luton after the takeover by the PSA Group

Workers have staged a mass walkout at Vauxhall. There has also been criticism over the decision to announce job cuts at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in the run-up to Christmas. A unanimous decision of all workers at the car plant was to walk out in protest at planned job cuts.

John Cooper, Unite the union convener at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, said all 1,100 union members had gone on strike. The announcement by the company, he said, followed three previous rounds of job cuts in recent years.

"There's been a growing frustration at the lack of clarity about the future. The frustration turned to anger and people took a decision. They're walking out," he said.

"This restructuring requires a planned phased reduction in headcount by 241 heads during 2019."

Vauxhall is planning a "phased reduction" of 241 jobs as part of a restructuring at its main car plant. The measure is an enforced productivity drive measuring head count to production costs given the false notion that labour is a cost, ignoring the reality that labour adds new value and therefore cannot be perceived as a cost in any equation. The company acknowledged the real problem of the crisis by stating that it has had to respond to forecasts for 2019 during a "difficult time within the industry". It is notable that workers in other sectors are affected by a new phase of the economic downturn, such as those at nearby shipyard Cammell Laird, who also walked out recently during industrial action over planned job losses.

Vauxhall, which was taken over by the French company PSA Group in 2017, in a statement said: "The 2019 plan encompasses site compression, implementation of new technologies and other transformation activities which will impact on headcount requirements".

Vauxhall employs about 3,000 people in Britain. It employs workers from across north Wales and Lancashire; around 350 people from Wales are employed at Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port. The Company previously said it faced falling sales at the Ellesmere Port plant, which builds the Astra. It will now consult on its plans with union representatives for at least 45 days.

The general crisis in the car industry has affected all major car manufacturers across Britain including Vauxhall, BMW, Tata and Nissan. Each company, in turn, has tried to blame the adverse trading circumstances and political decisions, such as Brexit. Some have cut out shifts, reduced temporary labour, put workers on short time, forced early holidays and pressurised workers into productivity deals in recent times. The workers at some plants have said, "Enough is enough!" The actions of the workers shows that they are determined to defend their rights and are demanding that they be treated as human beings and not as costs on a balance sheet. The proposed job cuts must be reversed, and the workers must have a decisive say in the future of the industry.


Link to Full Issue of Workers' Weekly

RCPB(ML) Home Page

Workers' Weekly Online Archive