Vauxhall sabbaticals plan backed by EEF

Manufacturers’ body the EEF has backed Vauxhall’s decision to offer extended sabbaticals to its employees as it fights the economic downturn.

Up to 3,000 workers at the car manufacturer’s Ellesmere Port factory will this week choose whether to take leave for between two and nine months on 30% of their salary.

Lee Hopley, head of economic policy at the EEF, told Personnel Today that the organisation supported any solutions that protected employment.

“Because of the nature of employment in manufacturing, which is usually more highly skilled than other sectors, manufacturers have to be more adaptable and come up with different options so asnot to lose skills,” she said.

“In previous downturns, when we lost manufacturing employment either overseas or to other sectors, evidence shows it’s very difficult to get those skills back into the sector.

If appropriate for the company, we would support it ingeneral principle, safeguarding skills and protecting employment,” Hopley said.

Denis Chick, a spokesman for Vauxhall’s owner GM UK, said some essential positions will not be given the option, including plant supervisors and maintenance workers.

“But if the scheme proves financially viable for both the business and the employee, it could be rolled out across GM’s plants throughout Europe,” he said.

More than 300 employees of Jaguar Land Rover opted to take three-month sabbaticals at 80% pay in October last year.

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