EVERY member of the GMB and Unite unions walked out last Friday evening at the Vauxhall car plant in Ellesmere Port in Cheshire in protest at the planned hundreds of job cuts.
John Cooper from Unite said all 1,100 employees at the site are union members and everyone had gone on strike. Vauxhall is planning a ‘phased reduction’ of 241 jobs as part of a restructuring at its main car plant.
The strike follows the decision by workers at nearby shipyard Cammell Laird to walk out on strike against planned job losses. John Cooper, the Unite convener at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, said the announcement followed three previous rounds of job cuts in recent years. ‘It’s like a death by 1,000 cuts. 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.’
Unite had said it would be demanding urgent assurances over the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, after the carmaker early on Friday morning announced a further 241 job losses by the end of 2019. Warning Vauxhall’s parent company PSA against ‘death by a thousand cuts’, Unite called on the French carmaker to provide certainty for the workforce by committing new models to Ellesmere Port.
The latest round of planned job cuts is the fourth at the plant in recent years, resulting in a reduction of the workforce of almost 60 per cent to 900. Unite regional coordinating officer Mick Chalmers said: ‘Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port workers have made huge sacrifices and worked hard to ensure the carmaker recently returned to profit for the first time in two decades.
‘Further job losses will come as a sickening blow for them and their families in the run up to Christmas and will further heighten the anger over the uncertainty surrounding the future of the plant. ‘Unite will be offering our members maximum support and pressing for guarantees of no compulsory redundancies. Unite will also be seeking urgent assurances and continue to press for PSA to remove the uncertainty surrounding the plant by committing new models to Ellesmere Port beyond 2021.
‘PSA should be clear. Unite will not tolerate the death by a thousand cuts of Ellesmere Port and will leave no stone unturned in securing the future of the plant and its skilled workforce.’
• Unite and the GMB said about 250 workers will take part in 10 weeks of industrial action at the Birkenhead site of Cammell Laird over plans to cut 291 jobs. GMB members at Cammell Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead begin a three-week period of strike action this morning at 7am.
Albie McGuigan, GMB regional organiser, said members ‘believed their future was secure after recent announcements of contract awards and agreeing a long-term pay agreement. They feel badly let down.’