Magna making new offer to Opel unions today image

After yesterday agreeing a deal with Vauxhall’s key union here in the UK, Magna International has altered its offer to Spanish unions at the local Opel unit [near Zaragoza] and will discuss the changes with unions and a government representative on Wednesday (14 October), a Spanish industry ministry spokesman said late last night.

As part of its takeover of Opel from General Motors Co., Magna wants to eliminate 1,300 jobs at an Opel plant currently employing 7,000 workers near Zaragoza in northeast Spain and move one of its two assembly lines to Germany.

After union officials walked out of a meeting with Magna on Tuesday in Madrid, Magna made a new proposal to guarantee production at the Zaragoza plant for five to 10 years. That was the plan being discussed Wednesday in Zaragoza, according to an official with the Aragon regional industry ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.

Opel currently employs about 7,000 workers at Figueruelas but over 1,600 posts would have been axed under Magna’s original restructuring plan, according to Spanish media reports.

Overnight media reports suggested the Vauxhall deal had moved Magna and GM closer to signing a preliminary deal to sell a 55% stake in Opel to a consortium including Russia’s Sberbank.

“It’s quite possible to see documents signed this week,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson yesterday told reporters in Shanghai.