16/10/2009 - Vauxhall: Death by a thousand cuts?

Solidarity Trade Union gave a guarded welcome to the news that there will be no immediate compulsory redundancies for Vauxhall’s 30,000 workers based in throughout the UK.   However, General Secretary, Patrick Harrington, noted that the car giant “may still be “facing death by a thousand cuts.”

His comments came after it looked certain that the sale of General Motors' European division - including Vauxhall in the UK - seemed to be drawing to a conclusion.  If all goes according to plan, Vauxhall's new owner will be the Canadian car parts maker Magna International.

When GM Europe was put up for sale in May, it was feared that 1,200 jobs would go.  However, it now looks like around 600 jobs could be lost through voluntary redundancy.

The main gain for British workers is that Magna International have agreed to keep both the Vauxhall plants at and Ellesmere Port and Luton  open.  These are Vauxhall’s two most productive plants and employ around 5,000  people.

Mr. Harrington said:

“Solidarity welcomes the news that there will be no mass lay offs.  However, we fear that Vauxhall may go the same way as many of our services in the public sector.  They are facing death by a thousand cuts.

Six months ago, Vauxhall's employees were hit by a 5% pay cut and a 10% cut in working hours.  Magna have already announced a two year pay freeze.  At the moment it may not be in Magna's interests to slash jobs.  However, who know's what could happen in the future?"