GM Plan For Opel, Vauxhall Includes 8,300 Job Cuts

General Motors plan for Opel and Vauxhall units features a total of some 8,300 job cuts, possible closure of a plant in Belgium, and repayment of government loans by 2014.

BERLIN (AP) -- A General Motors Co. plan for its Opel and Vauxhall units features a total of some 8,300 job cuts and the possible closure of a plant in Belgium, and foresees that loans from governments would be repaid by 2014.

The summary of the "viability plan," obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, sets out the proposals on which GM is consulting with European officials as it hammers out details of the restructuring.

It calls for the work force to be reduced by some 8,300, with 6,850 of those jobs going in manufacturing. The plan proposes the closure in the first half of next year of the Antwerp, Belgium, Opel plant, but stresses that no final decision has been taken.

New Opel and Vauxhall chief executive Nick Reilly has said that a working group would consider the Antwerp plant's future, which he has described as "uncertain."

The overall figure for job losses is below the roughly 9,000 cuts across the continent that Reilly has floated.

The summary says that "structural cost actions will lead to break even" in terms of pretax earnings in 2011, "despite modest western Europe industry levels."

GM hopes that European governments will help pay the euro3.3 billion ($5 billion) it says it needs to restructure its European operations. The summary says the plan "would allow for repayment of government loans by 2014."

On Wednesday, German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle criticized the plan, saying that "none of the important questions concerning Opel's future are addressed in the paper."

Those issues, he said, included how much freedom Opel will have in determining its model lineup and what role greener technologies will play in its future.

GM Europe has said it will provide a detailed plan for its European operations by mid-December.

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