Union leaders travel to axed Opel plant

Union leaders travel to axed Opel plant
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Union representatives from across Europe have travelled to the doomed Opel plant in Belgium in a show of solidarity with workers there.

The Antwerp factory faces closure this year with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.

It is all too familiar for Mick Whitley from sister brand Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in the UK.

“Obviously, we know what they feel,” he said. “We know, we have been through the same situation in Luton a couple of years ago when they closed the Luton facility in the United Kingdom.”

Workers from Germany, also facing heavy job cuts but no plant closure, made the journey too.

Matthias Rochau from the Opel plant in Eisenach said: “Why have we come from Eisenach? We are Opel and we stand together as Opel. We showed this in September and we are showing this again today.”

And from Spain, too, there was support.

General Motors management still has to make its business plans clear, according to Salvador Salas from the Opel plant in Zaragoza. “The only thing they do is take unilateral decisions and, for us, this is unacceptable,” he said.

In Antwerp a total of 2,600 jobs are set to go.

Parent company General Motors had warned for weeks that the plant was in jeopardy but until last Thursday no final decision had been announced.

GM went bankrupt alongside rival Chrysler and was bailed out by the US government in return for a pledge to restructure.

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