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PSA-Opel deal provokes German, UK worries

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 01:43

The bosses of General Motors and Peugeot maker PSA were racing on Wednesday to contain anger in Germany and the UK over their plans for PSA to buy GM's European business, which includes Opel and Vauxhall. Ivor Bennett reports.

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BROADCAST: NO ACCESS UK, NO USE AFTER 30 DAYS DIGITAL: NO ACCESS UK-FOCUSED PUBLISHERS, NO USE AFTER 30 DAYS ON ALL PLATFORMS Vauxhall, home of the Vivaro as the sign says...and 4500 jobs. News of a potential deal by GM to sell the brand to Peugeot, has raised fears in Britain at least some of those jobs will go. The head of the Unite union met with the government to try to make sure they don't. SOUNDBITE (English) LEN MCCLUSKY, GENERAL SECRETARY, UNITE UNION, SAYING: "The French government own a considerable stake in Peugeot and one thing's clear, that they'll be arguing and fighting for French jobs. And basically I'm going to be saying to the government today that that's what we need to do." The government says it is monitoring the situation closely. But unions are asking for more. Britain's vote to leave the EU has cast doubt over the future of its auto sector by raising the prospect of tariffs. The government persuaded Nissan to keep investing in Britain by promising to counter any lost competitiveness. Unions want others to get the same deal. SOUNDBITE (English) LEN MCCLUSKY, GENERAL SECRETARY, UNITE UNION, SAYING: "I suppose in a sense this is a test for the government's industrial strategy. Is it genuine? If it is, then we have to make sure we secure the automotive sector." There's anger in Germany too, where Vauxhall's affiliate Opel employs 28,000, the majority of its workforce. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PETER DIXON, GLOBAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "Given that Opel are particularly strong in the German market, that could mean significant labour unrest problems. So I think it's going to be a very difficult deal to actually make work, given that GM hasn't managed to do so for so many years." The German government says it'll take part in talks from now, in a bid to protect Opel's workforce. Peugeot confirming its CEO will meet senior officials, potentially Angela Merkel, in the near future.

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PSA-Opel deal provokes German, UK worries

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 01:43