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GM denies job security pledge

General Motors says it cannot guarantee there will be no job losses, as it tries to bring its European unit back into profit.

A spokesman for the company was responding to claims by unions that GM was hoping to carry out restructuring without any job cuts or plant closures.

A GM spokesman insisted it all depended on ongoing negotiations with unions, and no pledge had been made.

GM workers in Germany went on strike in October over job-cut fears.

Then, GM, whose European brands are Opel, Vauxhall and Saab, warned that up to 12,000 jobs in Europe were at risk.

A GM spokesman insisted on Wednesday that its new framework agreement with the unions was not tantamount to a pledge to keep all its European plants open indefinitely.

" Henderson has always said that there was a realistic chance - depending on the results of negotiations - to avoid plant closures," a GM spokesman said.

"But this is not a contract and not a guarantee against plant closures, certainly not."

GM said in October that around a fifth of its European workforce were at risk as it intended to cut costs by €500m (£346m) over two years. Most of the targeted jobs are in high-wage Germany.

GM Europe lost $161m (£83.8m) in the first half of 2004, up from $68m (£35.4m) one year earlier, according to the most recent figures.

Some 400 jobs are said to be at risk in the UK - 340 at Ellsemere Port in Merseyside and 94 in Luton.

(Source: bbc.co.uk)

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