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Car production halted at Luton by workers' GM protest

Vauxhall says car production at Luton was impossible today with around 700 workers staging a 'mass sickie' as part of a European-wide protest at GM cost-cutting plans. An unknown number of employees from Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port facility also failed to turn up for work.

The 'mass sickie', as UK union officials have dubbed it, is a protest against GM's recent announcement that it was to end car production at Luton - meaning the loss of about 2,000 jobs - as part of a reorganisation of operations across Europe.

A Vauxhall spokesman said: "Car production at Luton has ceased completely today, resulting in the loss to production of 650 units. There had also been some loss of production at Ellesmere Port. We can't put a monetary value on this. We regret the fact that workers have stayed away from what should be a normal business day."

GM broke the news of its restructuring last month, admitting that in an attempt to stem massive losses (£130m in the third quarter of this financial year) it would be shedding 10% of its European workforce.

GM operations in Belgium, Spain, Germany and Portugal are expected to be affected by the strike action.

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