SHIFT patterns for Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port have been pushed back in a special arrangement so they can watch England play in Euro 2012.
The car giant is the main sponsor of the England football team but employees at its Luton plant in Bedfordshire have been told they will not be able to watch matches on
TV sets at work due to “strict health and safety regulations”.
However, luckily for the 2,100 strong workforce at Ellesmere Port, their shift will finish at 2.30pm, in plenty of time for the 7.45pm kick-off in the match against Sweden in Kiev.
And when Roy Hodgson’s team face Ukraine next Tuesday in their final group game, night-shift workers will be allowed to clock on an hour later and make up the time by working half-an-hour extra on Tuesday and Wednesday.
And Vauxhall’s communications director Denis Chick promised: “For future matches and indeed if England get through (to the knockout rounds) then we will do the same thing. We will ask the unions to ask staff if they want to watch the match or not and if they do we will see if shifts can be moved very slightly.
“There is great difficulty in stopping a shift midway through and starting it up again once a match is finished.
“It’s too complicated and we just wouldn’t do it.
“As for putting TVs in the factory, we are building cars here. Would you want to buy a car that had been built while someone was watching TV?
“It’s purely for health and safety reasons that this is completely out of the question. It’s also common sense.”
Vauxhall bosses have hit back at allegations of denying staff access to the team they sponsor in a deal thought to be worth £6 million a year.
Mr Chick said workers at both plants had enjoyed “unprecedented access” to the England squad, with a number of player visiting factories before the tournament, where they signed shirts and gave autographs.
A number of workers, who come from Cheshire, Wrexham, Flintshire, Wirral and Merseyside, have featured in a Vauxhall advert alongside the likes of John Terry and Wayne Rooney.
Mr Chick added: “The general public don’t get this much involvement with the national team.”
Vauxhall said it was “proud” to sponsor England.