600 GM jobs to go in Spain, unions fear

14th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2004, FRANFURT – Six hundred workers will lose their jobs in Spain as part of cutbacks by US car giant General Motors in its European operation, unions claimed Thursday.

14 October 2004

FRANFURT – Six hundred workers will lose their jobs in Spain as part of cutbacks by US car giant General Motors in its European operation, unions claimed Thursday.

GM Motors has said it is to shed 12,000 jobs in Europe as part of a cost-cutting drive.

GM's German operations - which include car firm Opel - are expected to bear the brunt of the losses.

The job cuts - most of which will take effect next year - are part of an austerity drive aimed at cutting costs by EUR 500 million (USD 600m; GBP 340m).

The move is designed to turn around GM's loss-making European division, which also includes Saab and Vauxhall.

The lay-offs account for nearly a fifth of GM's 63,000-strong European workforce.

Fernando Bolea, a shop steward representing workers at the GM Motors factory in Figueruelas in Zaragoza in eastern Spain,  said unions feared 600 jobs would be lost.

Bolea, speaking at a meeting of union representatives in Franfurt, Germany, said: "We are open to dialogue, but with two conditions: no closures of factories or forced redundancies."

GM said in a statement that its restructuring plan "provides for the majority of the cuts to be in Germany, with a heavy emphasis on managing and engineering".

But it is not yet clear precisely which of the firm's 11 European manufacturing sites will be affected.

A spokesman for GM Europe said the company was still discussing the details of the plan with staff representatives, and that an agreement was expected by the end of November.

The firm's main European factories include the Opel plants at Ruesselsheim and Bochum in Germany, and the Saab production site at Trollhaettan in Sweden. They also employ 700 workers in Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, Britain.

GM Europe chairman Fritz Henderson said that while the restructuring plan could be achieved without shutting down factories, plant closures could not be ruled out.

"With losses since 1999 and no reasonable indication that market or economic conditions will improve substantially in the coming years, we have no other choice than to take tough steps to ensure our long-term success," he said in a statement.

GM Europe's losses widened to USD 45m in the three months to June 2003 from just USD 3m one year earlier.

European mass-market car makers are struggling in the face of intense price competition brought on partly by overcapacity in the industry.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car firm, is in talks with unions over a plan to cut its German labour costs by 30 percent over the next seven years.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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