General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached a tentative four-year agreement.

The tentative deal has to be ratified by the UAW's membership, with a vote expected to be taken within the next ten days.

"We used a creative problem solving approach to reach an agreement that addresses the needs of employees and positions our business for long-term success," said Cathy Clegg, GM vice president, Labor Relations. 

"We worked hard for a contract that recognizes the realities of today's marketplace, enabling GM to continue to invest in U.S. manufacturing and provide good jobs to thousands of Americans."

Terms of the four-year agreement are not being shared publicly to allow the UAW to educate its membership about the agreement and conduct the ratification vote.

"In these uncertain economic times for American workers and faced with the globalisation of the economy, the UAW approached these negotiations with new strategies and fought for and achieved some of our major goals for our members, including significant investments and products for our plants," said UAW President Bob King.

"When GM was struggling, our members shared in the sacrifice. Now that the company is posting profits again, our members want to share in the success.”

If ratified, the agreement would cover approximately 48,500 GM employees in the US, who are represented by the UAW.

The UAW said that its bargaining committee successfully fought back efforts to make major changes - and weaken - retirement plans for its members. It also said that the agreement includes improved profit sharing with 'far greater transparency than in the past'.