GM Europe chief to meet with Peter Mandelson
17 November 2009

Crucial talks on the future of Vauxhall are taking place today.

The head of GM Europe, Nick Reilly, the UK government and the Unite workers union are meeting to discuss possible funding aid and future job losses.

GM has indicated it plans to cut about 10,000 jobs in Europe and, as a result, business secretary Lord Mandelson is seeking to clarify its plans for its plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Reilly told the BBC that all the European plants would know their fate in the next fortnight.

"We know it is disturbing and unsettling to have this hanging over your head for such a period of time and so we intend to take that decision in a relatively short period of time, approximately two weeks or so," he said.

Yesterday, GM chief Fritz Henderson declined to confirm the firm's long-term plans for the Ellesemere Port plant, but said: "It is our lead plant in Europe for building the Astra, and I can't think of a better signal than that. The plant has done a remarkable job transforming itself."

Henderson also conceeded that GM's decision not to sell Opel has left it with problems. "We need to communicate with our workforce in Europe," he said. "There's a fair amount of work to do [on relations], espcially in Germany where we need to build some bridges."

The government has said it will consider financial support for Vauxhall, though any decision on funding is thought to be weeks away.

Vauxhall employs 5500 people in the UK, out of 54,000 workers in Europe.

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