Seat unions are considering new strikes after talks aimed at resolving a redundancy deal involving 1,346 workers collapsed on Sunday, a spokeswoman for main trades union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) told just-auto.

"We are considering new action that could involve strikes and demonstrations," she said, adding that such measures could begin after 12 January.

Seat and its unions threw in the towel on the controversial redundancy scheme, which Seat introduced to save €50m annually from excess labour at its Martorell (Barcelona) factory. The plant has been paring production rates due to sagging global demand for its cars.

Last Friday (2 December), the Spanish Volkswagen unit agreed to cut 700 workers from the lay-off programme and offer a small number of workers early retirement.

On Sunday, however, the company rejected unions' request that it provide up to 950 departing workers with similar compensation, saying that it would cost at least €150m to do so - and throwing the potential deal into the gutter.

Seat's future will now be decided by Catalonia's regional government or Generalitat, which is expected to approve or reject the 1,246 layoffs on December 19.

VW's promised €700m investment to turn around Seat has now (as expected) been dropped, union officials said.

Seat did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Unions have been pestering the Generalitat to force Seat to cancel the redundancies but so far there are no indications as to what the administration will do.

Ivan Castano