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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 12:13 GMT
Seat staff to strike over layoffs
Seat Cordoba
Seat is facing stiff competition from carmakers in Eastern Europe
Workers at Seat are planning to stage a walkout in protest at plans to cut 1,340 jobs at the Spanish carmaker.

The firm, which is owned by Germany's Volkswagen, announced on Friday that it was planning to cut 8% of its workforce as part of a cost cutting drive.

A union spokesman said workers at Seat's Barcelona and Martorell factories would begin a 24-hour walkout at 2145 local time (2045 GMT).

Seat said it had failed to reach agreement with unions over the cuts.

Eastern pressure

Seat employs about 16,000 people in north eastern Spain making cars including the Altea, Cordoba and Toledo

But the company said it had been struggling to compete with other Volkswagen-owned models - including Skoda cars - which are built for less at factories in Eastern Europe.

Seat made a profit of 145m euros ($170m; 98m) last year, but the company has said it will record an operating loss this year if it does not cut its workforce.

Managers at the company, which was bought by Volkswagen in 1990, said they had presented the Catalonia regional government with proposals for the job cuts.

Under Spanish law, the Barcelona-based firm must seek approval for any job cuts from the regional government.

Seat's announcement of job cuts on Friday came as US rival Ford said it was planning to cut 1,200 jobs at its German operation by the end of 2005.

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