Business secretary flies to Berlin to ascertain level of job losses
11 June 2009

Business secretary Lord Mandelson will meet with Magna executives in Berlin today to extract specific job commitments regarding Vauxhall.

The meeting marks the first time Mandelson has met Magna bosses since the Canadian car-part supplier and Sberbank, its Russian funding partner, were chosen as preferred bidders to buy Vauxhall and Opel last month.

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"The Government is continuing to do all it can to secure the future of production at the Luton and Ellesmere Port plants," said Mandelson. "The UK Government is at the heart of the discussions on securing a commercial solution for GM Europe. I continue to fight for the best interests of all Vauxhall’s workforce in the UK."

Mandelson is trying to ascertain how many of the 5000 British jobs at Vauxhall’s factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton will be guaranteed, and for how long.

In return for a commitment on jobs, the Canadians want British taxpayer funds reported to be up to £350 million.

Mandelson met senior representatives from the Unite union and MPs local to the Luton plant yesterday.

As well as Magna officials, while he's in Berlin he will also meet senior Chancellery officials and Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg, the German Economics Minister.

Magna is paying about £610 million for a 55 per cent slice of Opel, Vauxhall’s stablemate, and has handed over about £250 million of emergency funding to keep GM Europe afloat.

Of the 55 per cent stake, Sberbank controls 35 per cent. GM retains a 35 per cent interest and Opel workers keep another 10 per cent shareholding. The bid to buy GM Europe is conditional on due diligence of both Opel and Vauxhall.

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