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Vauxhall faces Amicus fleet threat

General Motors was this week expected to confirm up to 1,000 job cuts at its Ellesmere Port car plant following a meeting on Wednesday with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling.

GM faces growing pressure from trade unions who plan to step up action by picketing Vauxhall dealerships. Amicus has also threatened to end its £8m fleet contract with the carmaker. It may start sourcing cars from one of the Japanese carmakers which employs its members in the UK.

Amicus will also encourage its 1m members and their families not to buy cars from GM and to support carmakers with a UK plant. It is calling on other unions to take similar action.

Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson says: “Weak UK labour laws are being exploited by employers. The Government must take action to protect British manufacturing employment. Job protection similar to those enjoyed by workers in France would give British employees the opportunity to compete for investment.”

At the opening of a new design centre in Germany on May 10, GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster said the English labour market is more able to absorb workers than in Germany or Belgium. His comments provoked an unofficial walkout by Vauxhall workers on May 11. The action resulted in a loss in production of some 600 cars.

GM needs to cut costs as part of a restructuring drive which includes some 12,000 job losses.

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