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October 19, 2004

UK: GM Europe cuts extend to Vauxhall plants

General Motors’ UK operation Vauxhall is to cut 434 jobs across its two plants, according to the BBC.

By bcusack

General Motors’ UK operation Vauxhall is to cut 434 jobs across its two plants, according to the BBC.

A total of 340 jobs are to go at the Ellesmere Port facility on Merseyside, which makes Opel-designed Astra hatchbacks, and a further 94 at the van-making factory in Luton that builds models designed in conjunction with Renault and sold with Opel, Vauxhall and Renault branding.

The lay-offs come days after GM said it was to cut 12,000 jobs at its loss-making European division, the BBC noted. Opel has this week has been hit by a strike at its plant at Bochum in Germany.

A Vauxhall spokesman told the BBC the firm’s losses in the UK had more than doubled from £51 million ($US92 million) in 2002 to £115 million last year, despite the success of the Astra and the Vivaro, the Vauxhall version of the multi-brand van programme.

“Manufacturing wise we are in a strong position, but we are in a loss making business, and we need to work hard to address profitability,” he reportedly said.

Dave Osborne, national officer of the Transport and General Workers Union, reportedly criticised the job cuts, saying workers had achieved good levels of efficiency over the past year.

Vauxhall workers on Tuesday are joining a day of action across Europe, aimed at campaigning against plant closures or compulsory redundancies within General Motor’s European operation, the BBC said.

But GM is determined to cut costs at its European division by €500 million ($623.8 million; £347 million) in an effort to reverse four years of losses, the report added.

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