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Opel talks stall as job row looms

GENERAL Motors was last night locked in talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel, US government representatives and potential bidders for GM&rsquo;s European Opel unit, in an effort to rescue the division, even as a row over likely job losses was brewing.<br /><br />The talks in Merkel&rsquo;s Berlin office were focused on identifying the best bidder of four vying for the unit.<br /><br />Italian carmaker Fiat, Canadian auto parts maker Magna, private equity house RHJ International and Chinese car producer Beijing&nbsp;Automotive Industry Corporation are all in the running to take over Opel.<br /><br />The German government has pledged billions of euros in support to the successful bidder, largely because 25,000 of Opel&rsquo;s 50,000 European staff are based in Germany.<br /><br />But Britain&rsquo;s largest union, Unite, last night expressed dismay that talks should be directed by parties likely to put German jobs ahead of British ones. Vauxhall, Opel&rsquo;s British arm, employs some 5,500 people.<br /><br />Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the government will listen to requests for financial support from Vauxhall while negotiations in Europe continue.&nbsp;