Vauxhall sale to save 5,000 British jobs

May 30, 2009 at 9:26 AM
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LONDON, May 30 (UPI) -- The future of British automaker Vauxhall appeared secure Saturday after owner General Motors agreed to sell it, observers said.

Vauxhall, which employs 5,000 people at two British plants, was set to be sold to Canadian parts maker Magna International along with GM's Opel operations in Europe as the U.S. automaker agreed to a deal Friday. That was good news for Vauxhall, whose workers were anxious about their fate, The Times of London reported.

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson told reporters it was "pretty likely" Magna and its partner, the Russian state-controlled bank Sberbank, will be the new "shared owners" of Vauxhall.

"I will be seeking from them reinforcement of the commitment they gave to me last week to continued production by Vauxhall here in the U.K.," Mandelson said. "They made clear to me that they are committed to continued production by Vauxhall in the U.K. I take that at face value."

"The government needs to work with whoever buys GM Europe to ensure that the plants and jobs in the U.K. are protected," said a cautious statement from Unite, Vauxhall's worker union.

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