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The News Line: News ELLESMERE PORT AND LUTON PLANTS – PREMIER BROWN TO MEET GM BOSSES THE announcement that German Chancellor Merkel has clinched Magna’s bid for GM Europe with 5bn euros of guarantees has set the alarm bells ringing in the UK and Belgium, in particular.

PM Brown is to meet the GM bosses to discuss the building of an electric car in Ellesmere Port to try to save the majority of jobs at the Wirral plant.

On Tuesday, he will be urging senior GM management to allow the Ampera model and electric car to be produced at Ellesmere Port, as the only way to avoid big redundancies there.

Accompanying Brown will be Business Secretary Mandelson.

Both are opposed to the nationalisation of the GM plants in the UK to save all of the threatened jobs.

It has been estimated that up to 40,000 jobs depend on the two GM plants.

Brown’s concentration on Ellesmere Port leaves Luton out in the cold, facing either very heavy job losses, then closure, or immediate closure.

Workers in Luton are livid that the Unite union leadership have ignored and opposed their demands that the plant be nationalised.

The government of Belgium has demanded that the EU Commission investigate the role of the German government in clinching the deal for Magna and the Russian Sverbank and Gaz motor company who stand behind it.

Magna has said that it will keep all four German plants open.

Its Antwerp and Luton plants are expected to take the brunt of the sackings.

Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme also backed calls to have the European Commission probe the deal. He said Belgium would bring the GM sale up at a meeting of EU ministers this week.

The European Commission said it was following the GM sale process ‘very closely’.

A spokesman said: ‘In particular, state aid cannot be subject to additional non-commercial conditions concerning the location of investments and/or the geographic distribution of restructuring measures.’

• On Tuesday afternoon at 5pm both Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, the Unite joint leaders, will be addressing a fringe meeting on defending Vauxhall jobs.

Vauxhall workers from Ellesmere Port and Luton, and their families have been invited to attend the meeting.
 
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