General Motors’ jobs in UK at risk if Fiat deal goes ahead

Nearly 5,000 carmaking jobs in the UK could be lost if Fiat finalises a takeover of General Motors’ (GM) European arm.

If successful, Fiat bosses are said to be planning to close GM’s Vauxhall plants based at Ellesmere, which employs 2,700 staff, and Luton, which employs 2,000 people.

The plans emerged following a meeting between Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne and Klaus Franz, the labour leader of Opel, GM’s German arm.

Fiat is expected to cut 18,000 jobs across Europe if it successfully acquires GM, with plants also expected to close in Germany and Italy. The factory closures are said to be planned for between 2011 and 2016.

A spokesman for Fiat said: “It is not information generated by Fiat and does not form part of any plan prepared by Fiat.”

The closing of three Visteon UK car-part manufacturing plants last month resulted in a 34-day sit-in protest by the 610 staff made redundant. Earlier in the week, the staff were awarded enhanced redundancy packages.

Meanwhile, last night the government loan of £5m to ailing van-makers LDV saved 850 manufacturing jobs in Birmingham, and thousands more at dealerships across the country.

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