Vauxhall maintains quality in run up to plant shutdown

Vauxhall’s HR team has played a lead role in ensuring output and standards
were maintained in the run up to the closure of its Luton plant last week.

Vauxhall’s director of personnel Bruce Warman said the car giant had
introduced a number of incentives for staff to ensure production levels did not
drop – leaving it with millions of pounds worth of spare parts.

The incentives included a weekly bonus of up to £90 and, in the final three
months of operation, workers who took less than two days holiday and had no
absenteeism were eligible for a bonus of up to £1,000.

Workers with company cars were also allowed to keep the cars for six months
after closure if they met certain targets.

Warman said as a result of these initiatives absenteeism over the past few
weeks has been at 1.5 per cent – the lowest ever – and the accident rate also

Vauxhall also introduced a four-day working week with longer shifts leaving
Friday spare to allow workers to do training courses in preparation for new
employment opportunities.

The closure, which has resulted in the loss of 1,900 jobs, was announced
last year but the company has managed avoid any compulsory redundancies.

Of the 2,851 workers at the plant, 1,847 have opted for voluntary
redundancy, 984 to transfer to the IBC van plant next door, and 20 will move to
the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire.

However, Roger Lyons, general secretary of trade union Amicus, maintains
that the decision to close Vauxhall’s Luton plant was seriously flawed.

"It was not taken on cost, flexibility of labour or quality
grounds," he said.

By Quentin Reade

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