UNDER the cover of a Voluntary Separation Programme GM is seeking to push through more redundancies at GM Vauxhall including a number at Ellesmere Port, despite all of the months of publicity that there would be no redundancies at Ellesmere Port.
On Tuesday the GM management put out the following statement to ‘All Employees’ at the Luton GM plant.
It reads: ‘Following an extra-ordinary meeting with the Vauxhall UK Trade Union representatives, General Motors UK and Ireland has today confirmed the launch of a Voluntary Separation Programme in support of the Vauxhall/Opel European restructuring plan.’
What we learn from this is that at an ‘extra-ordinary’ meeting with the Unite leadership of Vauxhall GM a redundancy programme was launched that is not part of the Vauxhall Opel restructuring plan, and that already, even before the ink is dry, the proposals of that plan are proving inadequate for the situation of absolute crisis and slump in the motor car industry.
The communication continued: ‘The Voluntary Separation programme is currently available for applications from employees in the following GMUK locations: GMUK&/Griffin House, GM Toddington Rd Warehouse, GMM Ellesmere Port.
So, far from no redundancies being required at Ellesmere Port, GM is now asking for workers to agree to quit, in fact, there are to be 44 redundancies, with 106 at the remaining sites.
The communication adds: ‘Discussions regarding build volume allocations for GMM Luton continue on a daily basis with our business partner Renault, as such, the Company is at this point in time not in a position to confirm any implementation of restructuring requirements for this location.
In fact, under the restructuring plan, as announced by Nick Reilly on Tuesday, February 9, it has already been agreed that 369 Luton workers will lose their jobs, with nothing planned for GMM Luton beyond 2012.
Now it seems that GM wants more sackings at GMM Luton, on top of what has already been agreed. What they are discussing with Renault is the quantity of vehicles that will be required before Renault quits the site.
The communication concludes: ‘As soon as finalisation to these discussions are confirmed we shall communicate, in the first instance convening the plant JLC (Joint Leadership Council).
Currently workers at GMM Luton are working all of their lieu days, with a very high level of productivity.
It is clear that they are in reality working themselves out of a job.
Meanwhile the Unite leaders are refusing to give any leadership to the Luton workers who are desperately worried about their jobs.
The only correct policy is to occupy the plant and begin a struggle for its nationalisation.
Meanwhile GM has unveiled what it terms as a major investment in its European car-making operations, including Vauxhall in the UK.
The US giant unveiled a £1.72bn package for Opel/Vauxhall, more than trebling its previous investment pledge. The new investment is however to be made up of shares and loans, and is taking place because the German government is not willing to cough up the 2bn euros it originally agreed to.
The GM plan is for the Opel Group to break even by the end of 2012, and to be powered by a 15bn euro investment over five years.
The EU motor unions have not agreed to the plan and are opposing the closure of the Antwerp plant and all compulsory redundancies. They know that more plant closures are on the way.
The Unite trade union must form an alliance with them to organise industrial action to oppose all closures and redundancies.
It must also organise the occupation of the Luton plant and launch a campaign for Vauxhall UK plants to be nationalised.