Fauxhall: Workers Trade Pay Freeze For Job Security

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
fauxhall workers trade pay freeze for job security

The Euro and the UK Pound go into a tailspin. Greece requires a bailout. Spain & Portugal could be next on the default list. The economy is in tatters. The car market is shrinking. The government announces spending cuts, on top of people’s reluctance to spend. On this dire backdrop, does it surprise you that workers at the Vauxhall plants (they’re actually Opel plants re-badged “Vauxhall”) have chosen to accept a pay freeze in return for job security? The Times of the UK reports that the 3200+ workers located in the UK are close to agreeing to a 2 year pay freeze. Union officials in the UK believe that the pay freeze is an acceptable hit to take in return for job security. They also believe that when it comes to the union vote, it will be passed through with little complaints. There is of course one slight flaw in the plan….

Opel’s Nick Reilly says that wage concessions to the tune of €265m a year are essential for Opel’s survival. Try as we might, the UK cannot bear the brunt of all of that, which means our European friends need to help out. The UK already has 500 Opel employees on the dole . Opel workers in Antwerp, Belgium made the ultimate sacrifice, albeit not completely voluntary. At an average severance pay of $205,000 per job, it was a bearable sacrifice.

That leaves Spain and Germany to help Opel out. Spain has already agreed to cut 900 jobs and since the Zaragoza plant in Spain is the largest GM plant in Europe and is efficiently run, GM will be at pains to make any more cuts there. Which leaves Germany. Germany has agreed to cut 4000 jobs, which means any more concessions will be unlikely. But despite all of this, Opel management say they’re close to a deal with European trade unions on concessions. Oh I forgot, there’s an even bigger problem. All of this restructuring will need to be financed by someone. Germany have said “nein”, the UK said “only if Germany is involved” (and that’s providing, the Centre-Right government won’t cut the funding completely.) RenCen will find it difficult trying to convince the US government to use US taxpayer money to bailout their European operations.

Suddenly, that job security doesn’t look worth the paper it’s printed on.

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3 of 7 comments
  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on May 20, 2010
    We're Backing Luton ...as opposed to Brawn Grand Prix, who are lacking Button. I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 20, 2010

      Better than "We're Looting Beckton!" I wonder if the new sign will be: "We're Backing-out of Luton"...

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 15, 2010

    $205K severance??? Pay off your mortgage and get something else.

  • Vap65689119 Nice car, I think I'd rather have an SC430
  • Theflyersfan They might not be convertible friendly, but if they work on getting the last of the winter crud off of the car during the first spring wash, it's worth its weight in gold. So many of the self-serve car washes seem to have some kind of mechanical problem with one of the nozzles, or out of some chemicals - want to do that at home.
  • Bill Wade It's worked perfectly for me. Google maps is quite good and music streaming is flawless.
  • TheEndlessEnigma How much is TTAC getting from the Amazon referral links? Once again, nice ads camouflaged as an article.
  • Prabirmehta Great review! Brought back memories of my 2005 Z4 - loved it! I recently drove the 2023 Z4 and it felt similar in many ways to my 2005 (despite the much nicer and updated interior). Now your review has me rethinking whether to buy another one? :)