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British union seeks talks with Magna over Vauxhall jobs

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British union seeks talks with Magna over Vauxhall jobs

SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 06:01 CET

LONDON (Reuters) -- A union representing workers at General Motors Co.'s British Vauxhall unit said on Tuesday it feared that at least 1,000 jobs could be cut under a planned takeover.

Tony Woodley, the head of the Unite union, called for talks with Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. over the future of GM's two British plants at Luton in southern England and Ellesmere Port in the northwest, which together employ more than 5,000 workers.

"For Britain, there is likely be 1,000 or more job losses almost immediately in both of our plants," Woodley told BBC television.

"Worse than that, without the investment and with capacity being stolen from the plants to go elsewhere, there will be no long-term future for either of the British plants," he added.

Magna and Russian partner Sberbank have agreed to buy a majority stake in GM's European arm Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall. They plan to cut about 10,500 jobs from a workforce of 50,000, half of whom work in Germany.

Some countries that are home to Opel plants have urged the European Commission to ensure that the deal with Magna does not favor German workers because of 4.5 billion euros in aid promised by the German government to help loss-making Opel restructure.

"The political stitch-up with the German government means that in the longer term all the other countries are going to lose out," Woodley said.

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Oh no jobs might be lost! Those people will become destitute and live under a bridge for the rest of their lives!

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