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Saturday, 3 October 2009

We know where you were last summer

Tony Woodley is not a happy bunny. He runs a union, so we don't expect him to be happy. “This is a stitch-up,” said Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite. “We could see vans go to Gaz.” He means of course that Magna International, the purchaser of Opel/Vauxhall, plans to move van production from General Motors’ plant in Luton, north of London, to Oleg Deripaska’s Gaz Group in Russia.

Mr Woodley said that Magna had given no guarantee that the Luton plant would produce vans after 2013, when an agreement with Renault expires, even though the Canadian company had plans for Opel to produce a future commercial vehicle.

Unite’s leader also said that the plan would leave GM’s second UK plant in Ellesmere Port working at 60 per cent of its capacity.

“What we’re dealing with here doesn’t ... share the pain of downsizing and job losses,” Mr Woodley said. “It’s clearly biased for obvious political and financial reasons toward the German plants.”

Magna, Unite and the British government are due to hold talks aimed at breaking the impasse next Wednesday. Should Mr. Woodley be worried? Going to bat for the British worker will be workers' hero Lord Mandelson, who as we all know spent this summer and last summer sunning himself on board the Mediterranean based luxury yacht belonging to Oleg Deripaska.

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