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November 4, 2005

EXCLUSIVE: SPAIN: Seat unions want government to intervene in job cuts plan

Seat trade unions will ask the Spanish government to intervene in the Volkswagen group-owned car maker’s decision to sack 1,346 workers from its largest factory in Martorell, Barcelona.

Seat trade unions will ask the Spanish government to intervene in the Volkswagen group-owned car maker’s decision to sack 1,346 workers from its largest factory in Martorell, Barcelona.

Lolo Galvez, secretary general for the dominant Spanish union at Seat, CCOO, on Friday (4 November) confirmed the company’s announcement that it will dismiss 1,346 workers instead of pursuing an earlier proposal for a 10% wage cut and reduced working hours – a plan unions fiercely rejected.

Seat wants to cut rising costs as it reduces production in response to sagging worldwide demand for its cars. It claims that Martorell has 1,400 more workers than needed.

The unions plan to meet Seat management on 9, a day before they hold a 24-hour strike (and a demonstration in Barcelona) in protest against the car maker’s plans.

If the meeting doesn’t produce a mutually acceptable deal, the unions will ask the government to intervene in the matter, Galvez told just-auto.

But the likelihood that a deal will be struck “does not look good,” Galvez added.

Seat did not immediately return calls on Friday seeking comment.

The company’s redundancy plan affects the 12,000-worker Martorell factory and two nearby production centres including a components plant.

Audi and VW group officials are currently trying to work out a new strategy for Seat, which was once the pride of Spain’s national vehicle industry.

Ivan Castano

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