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General Motors Staff Strike Over Job Losses Threat

Hundreds of workers at a General Motors car plant in Britain staged an unofficial strike on May 11 following reports that the U.S. giant plans to sack 1,000 British workers making Vauxhall vehicles, union officials said. Up to 900 workers were involved in the walkout, which halted production at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, northwest England. The strike was called due to comments reportedly made by GM's European President Carl-Peter Forster.

"Workers at Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port have walked out of the plant this morning as a reaction to extremely unhelpful comments made in the media today by Carl-Peter Forster... that the only way forward for the Ellesmere Port plant would be to take a shift out, which would result in up to a 1,000 job losses," said Roger Maddison, national officer of the union Amicus.

"This is an emotional reaction from a loyal and highly productive workforce who are understandably fearful for their jobs and the future of the plant. We would have expected better from such a senior executive of the company," he added.

Union officials voiced anger at the fact that the reported comments were made as General Motors continues to hold talks with them. The job cuts are among options being considered as the group struggles to reconcile investment plans for a new range of models with falling demand for the Vauxhall Astra car built at Ellesmere Port, near Liverpool, and other plants across Europe. The Ellesmere Port plant employs 3,300 people and smashed production records last year by producing 188,000 cars.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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