GENERAL Motors and Magna and its Russian partner Sberbank (which includes the Gaz carmaker) have reached an agreement in principle over the contract to allow Magna to buy a stake in GM’s European operation Opel.
The deal will be signed when the Opel Trustees (the German government and representatives of various German state governments who hold a 65 per cent stake in Opel) decide on the level of funding that they are prepared to put forward to guarantee the operation.
When the funding level becomes clear, and if it is accepted, the boards of directors of GM and Canadian automotive group Magna will approve the deal.
GM confirmed that it has asked the Opel Trustees created by the German government to outline the financing package that Germany will support.
Germany had already put up 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in bridging finance last May, just before GM Detroit went into bankruptcy.
The leaders of Rhineland-Palatinate, which hosts one of four Opel plants in Germany, said in a statement that the deal must be signed.
Magna stated yesterday: ‘There is agreement on all points between the partners Sberbank, Magna and General Motors. We think there are no open points any more.’
Under the deal, Magna and Sberbank (supported by Russian carmaker Gaz) will each own 27.5 per cent, leaving GM with 35 per cent and Opel workers holding the remaining 10 per cent stake.
Opel’s Labour Works Council leader Klaus Franz said Magna and GM have reached an agreement, and a contract sealing the deal is ready to be signed.
The deal is going to mean at least 10,000 sackings, including the closure of the Belgian Opel plant, some redundancies in Germany and major redundancies in the GM plants in the UK, with a strong possibility that GMM Luton will be closed
It is an absolute disgrace that the leaders of the Unite trade union have done nothing to prepare the workers in the UK GM plants for this moment.
They have publicly refused to have a mass meeting at GMM Luton, and have arrogantly rejected workers’ demands that the union leaders should demand that GMM Luton and Vauxhall Ellesmere Port be nationalised.
They said that nationalisation was not appropriate since the Labour government would not be prepared to do it.
Workers in GMM Luton and Vauxhall Ellesmere Port will be returning to work soon from their holidays.
There must be immediate mass meetings and preparations made to occupy both plants and to lead a national campaign that they be nationalised under workers’ control.
Such a campaign will mobilise millions of workers and assemble a force that will be stronger than the Labour government.
The defence of jobs is the number one concern of working people not just in Britain but throughout the world.
The Unite leaders are not prepared to lead a fight and must be forced to resign and be replaced by leaders who will.
The plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton must be occupied, and councils of action formed in both towns to defend the occupations from attacks by the Law Courts and the state.
Labour will oppose a massive national campaign that both plants be nationalised. It is a government that supports the bankers and the bosses.
Workers must not hesitate when faced with such a treacherous government.
It must be brought down and be replaced by a workers’ government that will nationalise the banks and major industries under workers’ control and bring in a planned socialist economy.