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GM may grant Opel workers stake to get concessions.

Byline: Bloomberg

BERLIN Eoe1/4" General Motors Co. is considering granting workers at the Adam Opel GmbH division a stake in the unit as the biggest US automaker seeks to secure a deal on labour concessions in Europe.

An employee shareholding, along with profit sharing and the divisionEoe1/4aos conversion into a German joint-stock company Eoe1/4Eocan be part of the final settlement,Eoe1/4A[yen] Nick Reilly, the acting chief of the unit, said today at a press briefing at Opel headquarters in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim.

GM decided last month against selling Opel to Magna International Inc. and instead plans a 3.3 billion-euro ($5 billion) reorganization of the unprofitable unit that would be financed mainly by European Union nations. Reilly said following a meeting with EU industry ministers in Brussels today that the planEoe1/4aos completion may take until the beginning of January.

The US company is seeking 2.7 billion euros from EU countries where Opel and its sister Vauxhall brand have plants, with GM providing the remaining 600 million euros. Swedish Industry Minister Maud Olofsson, who led the meeting of her EU counterparts with Reilly, said before the gathering that GM wonEoe1/4aot be permitted to receive assistance that kept jobs in one nation at the expense of employees elsewhere in the bloc.

Eoe1/4EoWe will not allow GM to go to each and every country to negotiate about state aid,Eoe1/4A[yen] Olofsson told reporters in Brussels today. The EU must Eoe1/4Eostick to the rules Eoe1/4" no state-aid race.Eoe1/4A[yen]

Opel builds cars in five EU countries and has parts factories in two others. Reilly said he has received positive signals from European governments on the Opel aid request.

Eoe1/4EoI donEoe1/4aot know if it will be 2.7 billion euros, but I am optimistic we will get a lot of government support,Eoe1/4A[yen] Reilly said. Any assistance will conform to EU laws, and Eoe1/4EoweEoe1/4aore not in a bidding war for support.Eoe1/4A[yen]

GM may need to provide more of its own funding to Opel before Germany agrees to give support, said Hendrik Hering, economy minister of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where Opel has about 3,200 employees.

Eoe1/4EoItEoe1/4aos only legitimate to expect them to come up with a higher amountEoe1/4A[yen] than 600 million euros, Hering said yesterday by phone. Eoe1/4EoAs the owner, GM knows full well that eventually it will have to pay more.Eoe1/4A[yen]

Reilly wants unions to agree to 265 million euros in annual savings from reduced pay and changes in working conditions. OpelEoe1/4aos reorganization plan, which will include more than 8,000 job cuts and the possible closure of a plant in Antwerp, Belgium, had been scheduled to be released in mid-December.

Klaus Franz, the head of OpelEoe1/4aos works council, said at the briefing that employees will only agree to concessions in return for a stake in the company and a greater role in decision- making. GMEoe1/4aos withdrawal of plans to eliminate 548 jobs at OpelEoe1/4aos development center in Ruesselsheim was Eoe1/4Eopositive,Eoe1/4A[yen] he said.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Dec 5, 2009
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