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Jobs to go at Vauxhall

A total of 340 jobs are to go at its Ellesmere Port facility on Merseyside, and a further 94 at its van-making factory in Luton.

The lay-offs come days after parent company General Motors (GM) said it was to cut 12,000 jobs at its loss-making European division.

GM's European operations also include Opel, which this week has been hit by a strike at one of its sites in Germany.

A Vauxhall spokesman said the firm's losses in the UK had more than doubled from £51m in 2002 to £115m last year, despite the success of the Astra car and the Vivaro van.

"In terms of manufacturing we are in a strong position, but we are in a loss making business, and we need to work hard to address profitability," he said.

Today Vauxhall workers will join a day of action across Europe, aimed at campaigning against plant closures or compulsory redundancies at GM European operation.

But Detroit-based GM, the world's largest car manufacturer, is determined to cut costs at its European division by €500m (£347m) in an effort to reverse four years of losses.

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