General Motors (GM) has confirmed that it plans to cut 10,000 jobs across its European car unit Opel, which includes the Vauxhall brand in the UK. The announcement comes a day after GM said it was cancelling its deal to sell Opel to Canadian car parts firm Magna.
Unions in Germany said workers would begin walk-outs from Thursday in protest at GM’s decision. The German government, which had backed the sale of Opel, demanded GM repayment of a 1.5bn euro ($2.2bn; £1.3bn) loan.
The 10,000 job cuts which GM now plans are broadly similar to the amount Magna proposed and German trade unions now fear two of the four Opel factories could close.
Politicians and unions in Germany had favoured a sale to Magna as the best way to save German jobs, as it included a guarantee that no German factory would be closed.
Meanwhile Unite, the main union at Vauxhall, which employs 5,500 people in the UK, said its task was to minimise the number of jobs lost, and to ensure they are voluntary.
Tony Woodley, Unite’s general secretary, said it was “inevitable” there would be some job losses at Vauxhall. He added that it was right that GM should hold onto the two Vauxhall plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port
“because this country is one of its strongest and most loyal customers”.
Mr Woodley said it was now “absolutely certain” that GM will need repayable loans “from four or five” European Union nations.
Opel employs a total of 54,000 workers across Europe, with 25,000 based in Germany.