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Mandelson is reassured on GM's sell-off

BUSINESS SECRETARY Lord Mandelson said yesterday he had been given further assurance from just-sold GM Europe that Vauxhall production would not leave the UK, as fears grow over job security at British car plants.<br /><br />As Canadian-Austrian Magna International buys up Opel and Vauxhall, the European arm of ailing carmaker GM, there are fears that sites could close in the UK, Belgium, Poland and Spain.<br /><br />But, while GM executives pledged their commitment to keeping Vauxhall production in the UK, Mandelson added that Magna&rsquo;s acquisition could threaten a vital contract at the Luton plant between Vauxhall and Nissan Renault.<br /><br />Renault has a contract to build its Traffic van in Luton until 2012, but it could renegotiate the deal under a clause which allows the company to end its ties if the plant&rsquo;s ownership changes.<br /><br />&ldquo;These are among the many and details specifics of Magna&rsquo;s plans that we have to discuss with them and tie down,&rdquo; Mandelson said.<br /><br />&ldquo;If they want British government to help underwrite this new company going forward, they are going to have to demonstrate what&rsquo;s in this new arrangement for Britain, for British production and British workers.&rdquo;<br /><br />Mandelson has welcomed the deal from Magna, but unions say Magna&rsquo;s acquisition will lead to job cuts in the UK, while German plants are saved.<br /><br />Germany, which hosted the talks between bidders and GM, had a say in the final buyer. It is providing GM with an emergency &pound;1.3bn loan while it sells off Opel and Vauxhall.<br /><br />Magna has Russian backing for its purchase.