Vauxhall in talks with unions over pay cuts and four-day week to save jobs

Vauxhall is in talks with trade unions to stave off redundancies, with pay cuts and a four-day working week among the options on the table.

The car manufacturer, which employs 5,000 workers in the UK, has already introduced ‘down days’ where employees leave work early but still get paid, allowing the firm to ‘bank’ workers’ hours for when production demand increases.

However it faces having to lay off employees at its plants in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire and Luton if it cannot cut costs. 

Business has dropped dramatically in the economic downturn both in the UK and the USA.

Vauxhall’s American owner, General Motors, has less than four months to draw up plans to dump billions of dollars of debt and to cut salary and benefits following an emergency $17.4billion loan from the US government to prevent them running out of cash.

Denis Chick, director of communications at General Motors UK, said: “Talks are ongoing between unions and Vauxhall management in order to cut costs in 2009 and we are discussing around 20 options. [These include] changing shift patterns, cutting pay, getting rid of bonus payments and staff working a four-day week.

“We are desperately trying to avoid redundancies. We have spent a fortune training our workforce and we are going to need them when things pick up in the future.”