Thousands of jobs at Vauxhall and other General Motors car
plants on the continent are under threat after the company announced plans to
cut its European manufacturing capacity by 15 per cent.
The cutbacks are part of a rationalisation programme known
as Project Olympia, designed to save £1.8 billion in costs and return GM’s
European operations to profit by 2003.
Carl-Peter Forster, the chief executive of GM’s Opel
division warned that the cutbacks may involve the closure of one major assembly
plant or the restructuring of several sites.
He said, “This is a very stressful time for both our workers
and for us.”
The recommendations in the plan, which could have a huge
impact on GM’s 89,000 strong European workforce, are being discussed with Opel
and GM’s European employee representatives.
A Vauxhall spokesman told Personnel Today that it was to
early to say whether there would be job losses at the GM’s UK plants in Luton
and Ellesmere Port.
But GM’s unions have demanded that the company give
assurance by next Monday that there will not be any plant closures or sackings
and warned that strike action could not be ruled out.
By Paul Nelson