Opel close to deal with unions on restructuring: sources

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German automaker Opel is close to agreement with unions on a restructuring plan that Opel has been trying for months to finalise, sources close to the talks said on Friday.

The company has sought since February to get workers to agree to 265 million euros (332 million dollars) in pay cuts as part of a plan that would eliminate 8,300 jobs out of around 50,000 across Europe.

Opel said it will hold a press conference later on Friday with the head of its European works council, Klaus Franz, to provide information on "significant progress" on the plan.

Unions opposed the closure of an Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium, but a deal has now been reached on a social plan for the site if it cannot be sold to another company.

US parent General Motors expects to contribute 1.9 billion euros to the Opel restructuring plan and has asked European countries where plants are located to provide up to 1.8 billion euros in public guarantees.

GM has not yet reached agreement with Germany however, which would have to pay the biggest share of that sum.

© 2010 AFP

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