Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 10:32 UK

Opel staff face wait for job news

Opel worker in Germany
Opel and Vauxhall workers face an anxious wait

Workers at Opel and its UK brand Vauxhall will have to wait at least three months before they know which jobs are to go, the BBC has learned.

An Opel spokesman said no announcement would be made about redundancies before the carmaker's sale to Canadian car parts maker Magna is concluded.

An interim deal is expected in July, but the final agreement is not due until September, he said.

Magna has so far said it plans to cut 2,500 Opel jobs in Germany.

Jobs at stake

Opel employs a total of 54,500 workers across Europe, with 25,000 based in Germany.

MAGNA'S BID FOR GM EUROPE
Canadian-Austrian car parts group
Plans 2,500 job cuts in Germany
Pledges to inject between 500m and 700m euros into Opel
10% of the new company would be owned by Opel employees; GM would keep a 35% stake in the company
Bid in connection with Russia's state-run Sberbank and Oleg Deripaska's truck firm Gaz

Its Vauxhall brand employs 5,500 people in the UK, primarily at its two British plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Opel has been unaffected by Monday's move into US bankruptcy protection by former owner General Motors.

This is because Opel's ownership has been temporarily transferred to a trust fund ahead of the Magna sale.

First German payments

Opel also confirmed on Tuesday that it had received the first tranche of a bridging loan from the German government to help shore up its finances until the Magna sale is concluded.

It has been given 300m euros ($423m; £259m) out of the 1.5bn euros pledged by Germany in its rescue deal.

The German government is putting forward the money because Opel has its headquarters and three factories in the country, employing almost half of all the firm's workers.

See GM production centres in Europe

Berlin is also directly involved in the sale of Opel to Magna, leading to union fears in the UK and Belgium that their Vauxhall and Opel factories will bare the brunt of job cuts.

UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said last week that he had gained assurances from Magna that it was committed to car production in the UK, but he added that some redundancies across Opel's entire European operations were inevitable.

Magna needs to cut jobs at Opel to return the firm to profitability and reduce overcapacity.



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