A US District court in Detroit has granted preliminary approval of the healthcare settlement agreement between General Motors, the United Auto Workers union and the class representatives.

On October 17, GM announced a tentative agreement with the UAW to modify the hourly retiree health care plan. The agreement was ratified by UAW members on 11 November. GM, the UAW and the class representatives are seeking court approval of the health care changes affecting hourly retirees.

In that context, a hearing was held in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on 22 December, 2005 to determine whether the terms of the settlement agreement were sufficiently fair and reasonable to justify distributing formal notices to affected retirees and dependents.

Following the preliminary approval granted by the court today, information will be mailed to GM hourly retirees, their surviving spouses and dependents concerning the terms of the settlement agreement and a description of the next steps in the legal process. A fairness hearing has been scheduled to commence on 6 March.