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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 19:17 GMT
GM cuts 10,000 jobs in Germany
Opel cars leaving plant
GM hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies
General Motors' loss-making European division is to cut 12,000 jobs in a bid to save $665m (347m) annually.

The redundancies will affect a fifth of its workforce, with 10,000 positions going at Opel plants in Germany.

The rest of the jobs will be lost at Ellesmere Port in the UK, and sites in Belgium, Spain and Sweden, GM said.

In recent years, the company, which also makes the Vauxhall and Saab brands, has faced an increasingly competitive market.

The job cuts are part of a restructuring first announced in October.

Market realities

GM Europe last saw a profit in 1999, despite earlier cost-cutting moves which saw production drop by more than a quarter.

Earlier this year, the company merged its European car-making businesses under a single regional chairman, based in Zurich.

Over the past three years, we worked very hard to find other solutions
Carl-Peter Forster, GM Europe

GM said about 15% of managerial positions would be cut but none of its 11 plants would be closed.

Cutting costs will allow GM to fund new models as it bids to regain market share.

"Facing the realities of the market is absolutely imperative," said GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster.

"Over the past three years, we worked very hard to find other solutions. Contrary to all forecasts, however, the market has not improved.

"This restructuring program will give our brands the economic freedom they need to continue their model offensives."

Severance packages

A spokesman said GM hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies.

GM Europe
Brands: Saab, Vauxhall, Opel
Sales: 1.8m vehicles (2003)
Employees: 63,000
Factories: 11 (Germany, Sweden, UK)
Finances: $161m loss H1 2004

In Germany, where GM employs 32,000 people, about 2,500 staff have already agreed to take early retirement.

In addition, talks with unions have resulted in a programme that will offer severance packages of up to 200,000 euros ($265,000; 138,000) as well as retraining and job placement.

About 6,000 of the jobs would be going from Opel's main German plant at Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt.

GM said separate agreements are currently being negotiated with workers in other countries.



SEE ALSO:
GM denies any job security pledge
08 Dec 04 |  Business
GM bosses start talks with unions
18 Oct 04 |  Business
GM to cut 12,000 jobs in Europe
14 Oct 04 |  Business
GM reviewing European operations
22 Sep 04 |  Business


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