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April 20, 2010

BELGIUM: Unions agree Opel compensation deal – reports

General Motors’ European chiefs have reportedly agreed a deal with unions to close Opel’s Antwerp plant in Belgium.

General Motors’ European chiefs have reportedly agreed a deal with unions to close Opel’s Antwerp plant in Belgium.

The carmaker announced in January that it would close the 120,000-vehicle-a-year factory as part of the restructuring of Opel and Vauxhall operations to reduce European capacity by a fifth and to speed a return to profitability within two years.

Unions opposed the closure but a plant spokeswoman told DPA that a compensation package for the 2,500 workers at Antwerp has been agreed.

Workers will tomorrow vote whether to accept the deal, which offers them up to EUR144,000 (US$193,00) in compensation.

Meanwhile GM will continue to seek an outside investor to run the plant and continue building the Astra three-door and convertible models. If no investor is found by September 30, the factory will close by the end of the year.

Union leaders told DPA that if workers accept the deal it will remove a significant objection to GM’s European restructuring plans which will ultimately cut 8,300 of Opel/Vauxhall ‘s 48,000 workforce.

The European unit is also and is seeking up to EUR2bn (US$2.7bn) in loan guarantees from five European governments toward its turnaround plan.

The British government has already pledged EUR300m (US$410m) while Germany is being asked for the largest amount, some EUR1.3bn (US$1.7bn) although its government has still to make a decision.

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