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GM u-turn has widespread consequences

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GM u-turn has widespread consequences

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Besides Germany, the fallout from the GM decision not to sell Opel has affected a number of countries around Europe.

Gloom hung over the workers at the Opel plant in Antwerp when it became apparent the deal had fallen apart. Workers have been living through months of uncertainty, the president of the ACV Union, Luc van Grinsven, explained: “General Motors in America announced many months ago that they wanted to close many plants in Europe. So the most important question that we have now is: what is the future of Antwerp and the future for our colleagues in Europe?” Spain’s Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian, said the General Motors decision to abandon the sale of Opel was a surprise. He said the agreement made with Magna was the minimum the Spanish government would accept. “The deal we have already closed with Magna is a base. It is a minimum deal, and from that we can continue talking.” Employees at Opel’s Spanish assembly plant in Zaragoza, the biggest in Europe, turned out 423,000 vehicles last year. These were principally the Corsa, Meriva and the Combo. Britain’s Unite trade union welcomed the GM decision not to sell its European Vauxhall unit, claiming it was a far better deal, according to the union president. “We never wanted to leave GM. Hopefully, it will be something beneficial for Ellesmere Port and Luton.” The question remains how GM will finance its plan to restructure Opel, the backbone of its operations in Europe.