Socialist Worker

Walkout as car workers told some must go and others do 3 hours more

by an Ellesmere Port union shop steward
Issue No. 1930

Workers at the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant on Merseyside took unofficial action on Friday of last week. The majority of the workers walked out when 36 members of staff were informed of compulsory redundancies.

Individual workers had just had enough and walked. It wasn’t planned at all, but after the first few left more people did.

In the end only a few were left working.

We went back to work on Monday, but there will be a ballot later this week on further action.

Those who were fired are among around 300 staff who the company terms temporary employees—even though some have been at the factory for over two years.

Around 12,000 jobs are at stake in total.

The company changes people’s shift patterns all the time—it makes it really difficult to get into a routine.

How are you meant to organise things like childcare when you’re not sure when you’ll be working?

Some workers complained last year and the manager said, “If you don’t do this then your kids won’t have Christmas this year.”

If workers take time off sick, management gets them visited at home.

One guy was in a car accident and took two weeks off from work. Not only did he receive visits from management to pressure him back to work, but he also received a disciplinary letter on return to work. The level of harassment is disgusting.

The company has told workers who are contracted to do 37 hours that they should work 40 hours a week for no extra pay.

The company’s employees in Germany recently accepted a similar agreement and it is now trying to enforce it in Ellesmere Port.

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Article information

Sat 4 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1930
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