Union claims job losses at Luton's Vauxhall factory could be as high as 417 staff
Unite says Flexistaff and 23 month fixed term employees will bear brunt of the losses
The number of Vauxhall staff at Luton who may lose their jobs could be as many as 417 after workers were told there would have to be redundancies.
In a statement to staff, IBC, who run the Vauxhall plant, told workers on Monday the three-shift system would have to be reduced to two shifts, with a possible loss of 239 jobs (from 990 to 751).
But following talks with the company since the announcement, the Unite union has now claimed the true figure is 417, with contract workers and Flexistaff bearing the brunt of the losses.
The company said it was having to cut jobs after the pandemic caused a global shortage of vital chip components which was slowing production as we reported here on Tuesday.
Some staff who have just completed their 23 month contracts and then been placed on the flexi system, say they feel cheated.
One worker said: "Rumour is 23 month contracts who lose their jobs will get two weeks pay. I've only just gone to Flexistaff as the only way to keep my job but have been told I will get nothing. It's sickening. Everyone is angry."
Another said: "Those who did 23 months and have switched to Flexistaff as instructed by Vauxhall, as it stands, get nothing. Managers are telling people to look elsewhere, get out of there!"
Another employee added: "Most of us that were on 23 month contracts have recently had to continue working at Vauxhall but through Flexistaff . The company are very clever indeed because I've only worked for Flexistaff for two weeks. I've been advised I will walk away with nothing because it was 23 month contract and not two years. I'm absolutely gutted. There is so much upset in the workplace.
"Some of my colleagues actually got a four month extension to their contract through furlough so have been told they will be paid two weeks wages. We have families to feed and bills to pay. What an awful way to treat people.
"We've been told by the summer next year we will all receive letters asking us to return. Not a chance in hell. What for another 23 month contract and no stability?"
In a letter to workers dated September 21, Unite the union said the management team had told them: "Amending the shift pattern would mean that there was a need to review the current headcount with the intention to reduce by up to 417. This figure was made up of employees from two groups; these were Flexistaff and 23 month fixed term employees. This means that IBC full-time employees will remain unaffected.
"The next meeting has been scheduled for the 30th September (next Thursday); this is when the real consultation negotiation begins. It is the intention of the trade union to put forward mitigation to minimise the impact of the proposed redundancies and explore alternatives to any job losses with the management team. In the event that job losses are unavoidable, the trade union will seek to negotiate the best possible outcome for those affected employees."
In a statement issued to us today (September 23), Vauxhall did not comment after being asked about Unite claims of 417 jobs being at risk. They said: "Any change would be temporary and anticipated to last for the duration of the current global semi-conductor shortage. The consultation period with employees and union partners to temporarily reduce the current three shifts to two includes temporary contractors and fixed-term contractors. It is not anticipated that permanent plant workers would be affected."
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