Opel Workers, Magna Reach Agreement In Spain

MADRID (AP) -- Magna International Inc. and unions reached an agreement in principle Thursday over planned job cuts at an Opel automobile plant in Spain, a Spanish official and a union rep said.

Magna agreed to reduce from 1,350 to 900 the number of jobs it will eliminate at the Opel car factory near Zaragoza, in northeast Spain, as part of its planned takeover of Opel from General Motors, Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said after mediating in talks between the two sides. The plant currently employs 7,500 people.

Talks had stalled last week, and unions announced four days of rotating strikes starting late this month. Union representative Pedro Bona said Thursday the strike would not be called off until the agreement is ratified by workers at the plant. He said they will vote some time next week.

Magna and the unions also agreed on how to divvy up production between the Spanish plant and a factory in Germany after the job cuts are carried out in Spain.

The Zaragoza plant would retain 70 percent of its current production until 2013, and after that the share would go up to 72 percent, with the remainder going to the German factory, Bona said.

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