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April 21, 2010

BELGIUM: Opel to put social plan deal to Antwerp plant

GM's European Opel operation has tabled a 'pre-agreement' proposal to its monthly and hourly-paid Antwerp workers on Monday.

GM’s European Opel operation is to table a ‘pre-agreement’ proposal to its monthly and hourly-paid Antwerp workers on Monday.

If the vote on the agreement – dealing with the social plan for Antwerp that could see around 1,250 redundancies out of a 2,300 total is positive – this could lead to a memorandum of understanding being signed.

The development is important as should the referendum be negative then GM says the intention is to shutter the plant on 30 June.

If however, the referendum is positive, the MOU will then have to be signed by local unions and the European management of Opel with a view to securing an alternative investor.

“If that [MOU] is signed, the search can begin for an investor until the end of September 2010,” a GM spokeswoman told just-auto from Antwerp.

Various working groups are primed to begin the search should the MOU be inked, for example one driven by the leadership of the Flemish government.

“If we are looking for an investor – in the first phase around 1,250 people will leave at the end of June,” added the spokeswoman, who declined to reveal any possible purchaser names.

GM is seeking state aid worth EUR1.8bn (US$2.4bn) in Europe, with Germany accounting for between 50% and 60% of this figure, to help finance a wide-ranging turnaround plan of its operations in the region.

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