Hundreds of jobs at risk at Vauxhall's Luton plant due to vital parts shortage caused by pandemic

Staff told 'nightshift part of the business is no longer viable'
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Staff at Luton's Vauxhall plant have been left reeling after being told the workforce could be cut by nearly a quarter.

A letter seen by the Luton News dated September 20, reveals staff were told on Thursday that the knock on effects of the pandemic and a global semi conductor chip shortage meant up to 239 jobs were at risk, out of a workforce of 990.

The letter states the chip shortage hindered the ability of IBC Vehicles Ltd, which runs the Luton site, to produce vehicles and there were fears the situation would get worse in 2022.

Vauxhall in Luton.  (Getty Images)Vauxhall in Luton.  (Getty Images)
Vauxhall in Luton. (Getty Images)

Staff at the Kimpton Road site were told: "Following a review of the business, we have concluded that the nightshift part of the business is no longer viable and therefore we are no longer able to provide work for all of its employees due to the need to operate only on a double day shift system.

"The company's proposals are that for the company to remain viable the number of production operative positions needs to be reduced from 990 to 751, therefore all of the employees with the least amount of service and experience within that reduction number will need to be placed at risk."

The company also said it would work to avoid compulsory redundancies and continue to explore alternatives.

"No final decisions regarding any possible reduction in headcount will be taken until the consultation with affected employees and their representatives is complete," the letter from Jason Mackerness, personnel manager, said.

Vauxhall in Luton.  (Getty Images)Vauxhall in Luton.  (Getty Images)
Vauxhall in Luton. (Getty Images)

But staff were told those staff at risk would be notified by November 5.

A Vauxhall spokesman told the Luton News: “As with all vehicle manufacturers globally, the semi-conductor component shortage is impacting our production sites. Therefore, we are entering a consultation period with our employees and union partners for the Luton plant to temporarily reduce the current three shifts to two.”

Unite regional officer Andy Faughnan said: “This news is a hammer blow for staff and we will be providing advice and support for our members at this difficult time. Unite has entered into consultation with Vauxhall Stellantis and we will be demanding that compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum.”

Reacting to the news, Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins said: “I am deeply concerned about the news of potential job losses at Vauxhall, and I am seeking further information from the owners Stellantis.

"I will be speaking with Unite the Union, which represents workers at the plant, to hear how I can support their representations to mitigate the impact on jobs in our town.”

It comes just two months after Vauxhall announced changes to its warehouse operation in Luton Road, Chalton, with around 300 jobs at risk there.

What do you think of the news. Are you affected? Email views to 23.09.21: Union claims job losses at Luton's Vauxhall factory could be as high as 417 staff