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GM factory closure costs 2,000 jobs

Friday January 22nd 2010

The value of taking out an income protection insurance package has been brought to light with the news that car giant General Motors is to close a factory in Belgium with the loss of over 2,000 jobs.

The company said it will "wind down" its Opel manufacturing plant in Antwerp in the course of this year. The decision will not affect the firm's operations in the UK, it was announced on Thursday.

Chief executive Nick Reilly said: "We fully understand the effect this announcement has on the Antwerp employees and their families and we sympathise with them.

"Many have been dedicated to the plant over generations and have done an excellent job producing great quality cars. The decision to announce this today was not taken lightly, instead, it is the unfortunate result of the current business reality. We must make this announcement now so that we can secure a viable future for the entire Opel and Vauxhall operations."

GM said the global economic crisis had led to a major downturn in the automotive industry. The Western European car market in 2010 is expected to be 1.5 million vehicles below 2009 levels and almost four million below its peak in 2007.

It is not expected to return anytime soon - if ever - to these peak levels, resulting in significant overcapacity in general and at Opel in particular, said GM, adding that to ensure long-term sustainability for the company Opel needed to reduce capacity by approximately 20%.

GM said last year it would cut thousands of jobs in Europe after cancelling its planned sale of Opel to Canadian car parts maker Magna.

A GM spokesman said the announcement would not affect the Vauxhall plants at Luton and Ellesmere Port. Vauxhall employs around 4,700 workers in the UK.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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