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GM Europe labor says it won't accept plant closures

From autonews| March 20,2007

General Motors' European workforce will not tolerate any more plant closures as the automaker decides where to build its next generation of compact cars, its senior labor leader said today.

"We are not going to accept a second closure with buyouts like Azambuja. Never," Klaus Franz, head of GM Europe's staff forum, said in a statement after talks on the new car began.

He was referring to the Azumbuja plant in Portugal that GM shut last year as part of its drive to boost efficiency in Europe, where it made a profit excluding one-off items last year for the first time since 1999.

"I don't see a serious economic situation which would force GM management to close a plant," Franz said, suggesting GM instead use its global car platforms to extend the European product lineup and build more GM brand cars in existing plants.

GM is to decide this year where to build the next-generation Astra, its best-selling model in Europe with nearly half a million units sold last year.

GM makes the Astra now in Antwerp, Belgium, in Bochum, Germany, and in Ellesmere Port, Britain. Its Gliwice plant in Poland and the Trollhattan factory in Sweden also want the work.

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