Vauxhall offers staff a sabbatical to cut costs

Vauxhall has offered workers at its Ellesmere Port factory a sabbatical of up to nine months on 30% of pay, as car manufacturers seek to cut payroll costs during the economic downturn.

Workers at the General Motors owned plant were invited to apply for the leave period in december, in response to falling sales and mounting employment costs.

The plant’s 2,200 employees were also sent on their Christmas holidays a week early and were told to arrive several days later than usual this month.

A spokesperson at General Motors said: “This is a pilot scheme and just one of many options to help save costs as sales are slowing down. Anyone can apply but [the sabbatical] must suit both parties – we want people back working and ready for September when production demand increases and we start building the new Astra.”

It follows a similar move by Tata Group owned Jaguar Land Rover, which offered workers a three-month sabbatical on 80% pay in October. Approximately 300 employees took up the invitation, with most set to return to work in March. The firm has also switched to a four-day week and a voluntary redundancy offer to 600 production workers is now fully subscribed.

It is one of a number of measures car manufacturers have been implementing to cut costs in the downturn, including shorter working weeks, a reduction in benefits, and even pay cuts.

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