8,300 jobs to go at General Motors

Around 8,300 jobs are to be lost across Europe as car giant General Motors (GM) announces job cuts and the closure of a plant.

Germany is expected to suffer the most, with 4,000 job losses as GM's plant in Antwerp, Belgium, prepares to go out of operation this year.

The company suffered heavy losses amid a shrinking European market and needs to cut down at least 20% of its manufacturing capacity, Opel head Nick Reilly said.

Nearly 2,600 Opel workers in Antwerp and related automotive supply companies that employ 10,000 people will be affected by the jobs cuts.

When GM planned to sell its European car making unit to Canada's Magna and Russia's Sberbank last year, the bidders intended to close down the Antwerp plant. But GM did not go through with the deal.

Mr Reilly said that the Antwerp plant had to go, with the loss of more than 2,300 jobs, because recession had reduced the sales of cars considerably.

The plant, which opened in 1929, has shrunk from employing 7,000 workers at its peak to around a third of that today.

Mr Reilly added that the economic crisis meant European carmarkers would probably sell 1.5 million fewer cars this year than last, and four million fewer than in 2007.

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