UNITE SIGNS UP FOR SAVAGE GM-VAUXHALL CUTS ‘We have to work as a team’ – says GM’s Reilly

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‘Vauxhall employees contribute in support of the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround plan,’ General Motors announced yesterday.

The deal was struck in Rüsselsheim on Thursday.

A GM press statement said: ‘Yesterday, representatives of Unite, the Union, signed the UK Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and European framework agreement in respect of employee contributions to the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround plan.

‘These are part of an overall Opel/Vauxhall European labour cost saving agreement to save 265 million euros per annum.

‘The UK programme will save 26.5 million euros per annum in the agreement period from 2010 to 2014 and represents ten per cent of the European total. . . . .

‘The UK MOU agrees the following employee actions to achieve the €26.5 million savings in the UK:

• A two-year pay freeze

• Pension scheme savings

• The introduction of SMART pensions.’

Duncan Aldred, Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors said: ‘We are proud of our employees’ continued support and our excellent relationships with the unions.

‘We believe that we have come to a positive agreement which recognises the outstanding achievements of our manufacturing facilities and the drive and enthusiasm of our employees.’

The GM statement continued: ‘Within the UK MOU, the following UK-related manufacturing plans have already been signed:

‘Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant will move to three shifts in the first half of 2011. . .

‘There will be no headcount reductions at Ellesmere Port. The plant will also produce the next (7th) generation Astra subject to maintaining its competitive position in the Opel/Vauxhall manufacturing portfolio.

‘At Vauxhall’s Luton plant, talks continue in a positive vein with Renault on the opportunity for joint development and production of the next generation Vivaro van.

‘The current Vauxhall/Renault joint venture Vivaro’s lifecycle runs out in 2013.’

GM Europe boss Nick Reilly told a press conference yesterday: ‘The negotiations were not easy.’

He added: ‘I totally respect the critical role that trade unions play in the company.

‘I understand it is difficult for unions to explain to their members that they have to make sacrifices.’

But he stressed: ‘We have to fight as one team.’