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Germany loses Astra production to UK factory

Germany loses Astra production to UK factory
Photo: DPA

Germany’s Opel factory will stop making Astra cars, owner General Motors said on Thursday, confirming rumours which have been circulating for weeks. But the US car giant said it would keep the Rüsselsheim factory operating.

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A new agreement by British workers to work around the clock at Ellesmere Port sealed the deal to move Astra production there, while some will also be made in Poland.

When rumours emerged earlier this month that the Astra would no longer be made in Rüsselsheim, fears were high that job losses would result.

But GM said it expects to continue to use the factory near Frankfurt to full capacity, according to a story in the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday.

Union officials speculated that if Astras were no longer made there, it might be used to make the compact Zafira van – but this could mean that the Bochum plant might close, the paper said.

Key to moving the production to the UK was the agreement by British workers to a new labour contract that requires 24-hour production seven days a week, according to Duncan Aldred, the chairman and managing director of GM’s Vauxhall Motors.

At a Thursday press conference televised on the BBC website, Aldred called the labour agreement “ground breaking” and said it would result in 700 additional jobs there with and a doubling of employment of local supply companies.

The transfer of Astra’s production is expected to be completed by 2015.

The Local/mw

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