Is the Future of Vauxhall in Luton?

By Carla Esteves

As Brexit been the top story news for the past 2 years, a lot of people are concerned with their jobs and their businesses.

That is the case of Vauxhall, that with a no deal situation will be highly affected by the UK leaving the European Union.

As Carlos Tavares said to the BBC news if there is a no free trade condition there will be drastic consequences for the business in the UK which he would preferably like to avoid.

“For us the situation is crystal clear. We need free trade.”

A student from Birmingham and Lithuanian says she is not concerned with Brexit. But can understand why some colleagues that worked with her at the head quarters would be, since they are not in the country for a long time and the company ‘survives’ with European components.

Coming from the BBC News, Carlos Tavares chief executive of the PSA group said recently that the Luton plant would be in risk of closing this summer.

Andy Faughnan, that works for Unite the Union and represents the Vauxhall workers said that that is not a threat anymore and its unlike to happen with the new investment in the Luton plant. The new van, Vivaro, starting to build at the begging of this year.

When asked about the job cuts at both plants, Andy says that “Everyone is suffering. It is not only Vauxhall. Is JLR, is Ford, everyone and it’s this market that is shifting, changing and trying to adapt. If they are necessarily down to Brexit we don’t know. In essence there probably is a link to Brexit on what is going on but what percentage in that is down to upon head count, we don’t fully know.”

Following what said on the Independent late last year: “Vauxhall is planning a phased reduction of 241 jobs as part of a restructuring at its main car plant.”

Andy from Unite interprets the chief executive by saying:

“Carlos Tavares views would be if you have a product in the UK which becomes completely uncompetitive based on a disastrous Brexit. So, he is ending up having to increase its costs massively on the back of it then they going to have to take a view where there leaves them.”

But with the company recent return to profit, and the new model being built at the Luton plant shouldn’t that mean Ellesmere Port plant is safe of any cuts?

As one of my contacts said, an ex-Vauxhall worker that prefers to keep anonymous: “I think it is not a matter of nationality when it comes to a no deal Brexit, but a matter of job role.”

She, polish herself, believes the ones affected will not be the foreigners specifically but the ground level jobs instead.

Moving forward, Vauxhall as a highly respected and international multimillionaire company makes its employers fear sharing information.

After trying to reach numerous of people, ex workers or current workers, the majority says that fear what might happen to their job or if anything they say in Vauxhall eyes can ‘break the company privacy policy’.

As one has said: “Sorry but as much as I would like to help, I would not like to risk my job. As things like this have happened before and people have been in serious trouble for it.”

Even after explaining this young adult that his information would not be disclosure, he still didn’t feel safe and opted to not speak.

Two young lady’s that have agreed to answer some question about Brexit affecting Vauxhall, did show some apprehensive behaviour. Two young Europeans, that no longer work for Vauxhall and only completed a 1-year internship still feel that talking about this subject can bring them trouble.

Is the company policy to strict, or are people being fired for talking to the press? Is an uncertainty because no one is comfortable answering the question.

Andy Faughnan expresses his thought on the company exchanging suppliers if Teresa May deal doesn’t get approved.

“It is whether or not they got UK companies that can supply them and, of course, in this moment in time that isn’t the case I mean you couldn’t switch, whether it was with Peugeot, Citroen, the supply chain just like that because there are contracts. In effect you must build that infrastructure in the UK on the basis on what the product could be.”

Andy right now says that there are not enough infrastructures in the UK for Vauxhall to contract and then get supplied by them. There are doubts now on what is the percentage of UK components the Vauxhall cars have, and Faughnan says the majority should be from UK origin, that was the goal, but is questionable.

Debates about the 50 Article are emerging strongly. Under the 50 article is possible for the government to obtain more time for a general election or for a possible people’s vote. There is a petition to call out on the parliament to take a stance and influence the negotiations, said on The Guardian.

Would this be enough to safe the companies and the people that fear the Brexit consequences. Therese May says is time to put self-interest aside.


Drug-driving Prevention

The University of Bedfordshire’s community radio station Radio LaB has teamed up with Luton Council and Smart Safe to support a campaign to discourage people from drug-driving.

Radio LaB produced a radio advert supporting the campaign. Listen to the audio

The advert was produced and voiced by Radio LaB student managers Kayleigh Saunders, Matthew Udall and Steven Wells.

Sports Journalism student Matthew said: “Unfortunately you cannot escape the fact that drug driving is a thing. And it could be our friends and family that become the next innocent victim. That is why it was a great pleasure working with Luton Council to hopefully make a difference. “

Media Production student Kayleigh said: “I really enjoyed the experience I gained from working with Smart Safe and Luton Council on this project. Having helped to make this advert, it has also opened my mind to different career options too after I graduate. I am now considering voice over work which I hadn’t before.”

Music Technology student Steve said: “I’m honoured to be a part of this campaign as I believe there isn’t enough public awareness about drug driving. Drugs can have as much impact on your ability to drive as alcohol and if the adverts save even one life, then that is a huge achievement.”

Radio LaB Coordinator Terry Lee said: “As a Community Radio station, Radio LaB is always proud to support local authorities and support services in getting their message out to young people and students in Luton. I’m so pleased with how our students have conducted themselves with this project. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for them to work on creating a serious, important message.”

Caption: Kath Greenaway, Road Safety Manager, Luton Council, Claire Peter, Smart Safe Alcohol & Drug Worker (Schools), Radio LaB Coordinator Terry Lee and student Matthew Udall