Spanish Unions, Magna Discuss Opel

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish unions and representatives of Magna International Inc. are making progess in talks on the future of an Opel plant targeted for job cuts, an official said Wednesday.

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

Union representatives walked out of a meeting with Magna on Tuesday in Madrid. Later, Magna made a new proposal that will guarantee production at the Zaragoza plant for 5 to 10 years, according to Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian.

Under this new proposal, Magna would keep both assembly lines at the Zaragoza plant, which produces the Opel Corsa, among other vehicles, said Alberto Larraz, finance minister of the regional government in Aragon, of which Zaragoza is the capital.

Magna is also offering to let the Zaragoza plant retain 72 percent of Opel's Corsa production starting in 2013, with 28 percent going to an Opel plant in Eisenach, Germany. Up until then, the breakdown would be 70-30, Larraz said.

Unions did not immediately say if they accepted the offer, although Larraz said there was movement in the talks.

The negotiations were to continue later Wednesday and in coming days.

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