Vauxhall says the global shortage of microchips has forced it to cut 100 jobs at its Luton van plant.

Affected staff at the plant, which makes the Vivaro van, are set to leave by the end of the week.

It was initially feared up to 200 positions might go when the company began consultation in September.

Paul Willcox, managing director of the company, said it was cutting its shift patterns from three to two and it was “working hard to maintain employment”.

“We don’t have enough components,” he said. “We have a massive demand and a full order book and we just can’t build the product.”

Because of Covid, the computer chips needed for connected cars are in short supply and it is a “difficult situation, not of our making”, he added.

The chip shortage issue has affected a number of industries.

Vauxhall hopes to re-employ staff when the chip shortage crisis eases.

“There is a long term future for the plant and we’re confident, sometime next year, we’ll be back to a third shift pattern”, Mr Wilcox said.

Andy Faughnan, from the Unite union, said the number of job losses has “dropped considerably from what it initially was”.

“These people have been valued employees and due to this nightmare scenario we’ve got in the industry, due to the loss of the nightshift, their employment ends at the end of this week.

“A lot of people have realised it’s looking quite grim in this sector and some decided to jump ship.”

The plant was “turning out as many vans as they can on the two shifts, there is light at the end of the tunnel” but the mood was “not great”, he said.