Opel unions issue strike warning over factory closure

27th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

Unions at General Motors unit Opel on Tuesday warned widespread strike action is a possibility as they refused to accept a planned Belgian plant closure at the troubled carmaker.

ANTWERP -"A strike is the last resort, but management has to realise that we will undertake all manner of (industrial) action -- and that can include strikes," said Peter Scherrer of the European Metalworkers' Federation (EMF).

"There will be neither sacrifice nor concession by the unions, by the workers at other plants, if the decision is not overturned," Scherrer said in Antwerp after a meeting also assembling Austrian, British, German, Hungarian, Polish and Spanish unions.

The company announced last week its intention to close down an auto factory in Antwerp, probably by the summer, with the loss of 2,600 jobs.

That decision was accompanied by a switch in production for a line of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to South Korea, against which unions have embarked on legal action.

Scherrer said workers at other GM Europe plants had agreed not to fill in for Antwerp workers during any stoppage.

"We make the GM management aware of a long history of European solidarity in common action," read a joint declaration by labour movements representing workers at Opel and Vauxhall. "This will be exercised if necessary."

The statement was signed by the European Employee Forum (EEF), the EMF and the European unions and works councils represented at GM Europe.


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