Spain strives to avert job losses at Opel

12th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain's government said on Friday that it would strive to prevent job losses at the Opel factory in Spain following the announcement by General Motors that it is selling the automaker.

Madrid - Spain's government said on Friday that it would strive to prevent job losses at the Opel factory in Spain following the announcement by General Motors that it is selling the automaker.

The government "is attempting to ensure that jobs are not lost in Spain" over the move, Finance Minister Elena Salgado told national radio.

Under a deal unveiled on Thursday, General Motors agreed to sell a 55-percent stake in Opel to Canadian auto parts maker Magna and to state-owned Russian lender Sberbank. GM will retain 35 percent and employees the rest.

The deal covers all GM's European operations except Swedish unit Saab.

With Magna expected to cut 10,000 jobs, there are concerns throughout Europe over where the axe would fall.

Opel has about 7,000 employees at its factory in the Spanish city of Figueruelas, in the northeastern region of Aragon.

Spain's two major unions, the UGT and the CCOO, are opposed to any jobs cuts.

A UGT official predicted "problems" if such a plan goes ahead, and the CCOO warned of "a major conflict."

The regional government in Aragon said late Thursday it planned to contact GM and Magna in the coming days "to find out the scope of the sale operation and its possible repercussions at the Figueruelas factory."

Spain's auto manufacturing sector is the third-biggest in Europe and accounts for just under 10 percent of the country's economic output and 15 percent of exports.

AFP / Expatica

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