Vauxhall in cost-cutting talks

The announcement that US car firm General Motors is to axe up to 47,000 workers around the world could have cost-cutting implications on the Vauxhall car and van plants in the UK.

The company, which has requested state aid to save it from bankruptcy, will close five factories in the United States.

A General Motors spokesman said that the announcement mainly focused on the US and there were no new developments in the UK.

But an official from Vauxhall said that discussions had been held with unions about cost-cutting, and that these were continuing.

Around 5,000 workers in the UK are employed by General Motors, including 2,000 at its car manufacturing plant in Ellesmere Port and 1,400 at a van factory in Luton.

Both sites have already been affected by cuts in production in the face of falling sales, with Ellesmere Port reducing its working hours from 37 to 30 a week.

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, repeated his union's call for the Government to offer more help to the motor industry, which has cut thousands of jobs and slashed production in recent weeks because of plunging sales.

From September, Vauxhall is planning to build its new generation Astra model in Ellesmere Port, when production is set to return to pre-recession levels.

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