GM to close Opel plant in Antwerp

Article by Christian A., on August 27, 2010

A General Motors Co. plant in Antwerp, Belgium, will be shut down in accordance with a deal that GM's Opel/Vauxhall unit has entered with the unions. Last January, GM revealed that it planned to close the plant under a restructuring plan to cut European capacity by a fifth to help Opel to gain profitability within the next two years.

Opel unions sought to challenge the closure plan of the 120,000-unit plant that held 2,560 workers. 

But last Sunday, the unions were agreeable to a compensation package that offers workers up to 144,000 euros ($193,000) in compensation, a plant spokeswoman told press agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Workers are set on Tuesday to vote on whether they will accept the deal. Nevertheless, GM will continue to search for an outside investor to take over the plant and it also intends to build the Astra three-door hatchback and Astra convertible. If GM fails to find an investor by September 30, the factory will shut down by yearend.

In an interview with the press agency, Klaus Franz, Opel's top labor leader, said that if Antwerp workers vote to accept the deal, an important roadblock preventing labor's acceptance of GM's European restructuring will be removed.

In GM's turnaround plan for Opel and its UK sister brand Vauxhall, about 8,300 of Opel/Vauxhall's 48,000 workforce will be cut. It is also seeking up to 2 billion in loan guarantees from five European governments. [via autonews]

Topics: gm, belgium, factory

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