Car workers facing uncertainty - but hoping for the best

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/car-workers-facing-uncertainty-but-hoping-for-the-best-10792800">Car workers facing uncertainty - but hoping for the best</a>
 

The workers who make Vauxhall cars in the UK are under no illusions about job security; they know their division of their American owners' business has been losing money for 18 years.

No one knows what the firm's new French owners will do, but the spectre of trade barriers has been on everyone's mind since the EU referendum.

"Brexit and nationalism and protectionism will not take us anywhere," union official John Cooper said at the Ellesmere Port plant.

He explained that 75% of the parts they use are imported, while eight out of ten finished cars are exported to Europe.

He started on the production line 40 years ago and is realistic enough to acknowledge that closure when current production commitments expire in four years is possible.

"It's not likely though," he insisted.

His colleagues making Vivaro vans at the firm's Luton plant voiced a similar mix of optimism and concern.

Sixty-one-year-old Lee Gibbons said he has heard plenty of dire warnings about closure over the years but the plant has survived and has the promise of continued production till 2025.

For younger workers though, there is more worry.

Joshua Taylor first heard he was working for a French firm on Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) .

"No one really knows what is going on," he said,

"Everyone has got families, bills to pay, so as someone on the frontline of the production, we want to know what is going on."

Richard McEwan agreed: "They've said they're not in the business of shutting companies down but we've heard that before.

"I just really hope for the best. They've got a good product, they will make money, so they should really keep us on."

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