A tentative contract reached by Delphi Corporation and a union representing 10,000 workers at 10 plants around the country would prohibit the automotive parts maker from closing those sites for four years, the union said on Monday, according to Associated Press (AP).

Persuading Troy, Michigan-based Delphi to agree to the moratorium was a major victory for the International Union of Electronic Workers/Communications Workers of America, analysts told AP, which added that Delphi spokesman David Bodkin would not release any details of the four-year agreement reached on Sunday in Troy.

AP said Delphi operates three plants in Ohio, employing about 3,000 workers at two plants in suburban Kettering and Moraine and 4,000 workers at the Delphi Packard Electric Systems plant in Warren.

The contract also covers employees at Delphi Packard plants in Foley and Gadsden, Alabama, and Brookhaven and Clinton, Mississippi; Automotive Holdings Group plants in Anaheim, California, and New Brunswick, New Jersey; and a Specialty Electronics plant in Landrum, South Carolina, the report added.

"IUE-CWA members have won a great new contract," James Clark, lead negotiator for the union, told Associated Press, adding: "In this tough economy, our members now have the opportunity for the greater job and income security they deserve for their efforts to make our plants productive."

IUE/CWA spokeswoman Lauren Asplen reportedly said that while there was a plant-closing moratorium in the previous four-year contract, Delphi negotiators came into the talks wanting the right to close at least one of the plants.

Mike Wall, analyst with CSM Worldwide, a Detroit-based automotive forecasting and research firm, called the agreement a "solid win" for the union, AP said.

"From a Delphi perspective, it does cramp the flexibility a bit," Wall reportedly told AP, adding: "It basically takes 10 facilities off the table. They may have to look at some of their other facilities."

Asplen told AP the tentative contract agreement includes wage increases, improvements in pension and health-care coverage and a $3,000 signing bonus.

Delphi also agreed to work with the union in locating a new product for the Anaheim battery plant, which has suffered because of a decline in battery sales, she reportedly added.

AP said Delphi's other US plants are represented by the United Auto Workers and noted that, last month, Delphi announced plans to cut 8,500 jobs, or 4.5% of its global work force, by the end of 2004 - the announcement followed ratification of a four-year contract between General Motors and the UAW that allows GM to close a large assembly plant and smaller parts factory.

The contract agreement still must be approved by union members, with voting expected to be completed in a week, the Associated Press report said.