Published: Tue, February 21, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Germany sees encouraging signs on jobs in Opel talks

Theresa May has agreed in principle to meet Peugeot boss Carlos Tavares to discuss PSA Group's proposals to buy General Motors' European operation, including British company Vauxhall, Downing Street said. "There's been a request for a meeting and we will try to make that meeting happen, but I am not going to go into what the nature of that conversation will be", he told reporters.

Mr Clark has also held talks with GM president Dan Ammann and Len McCluskey, general secretary of trade union Unite.

Germany's economy minister Brigitte Zypries on Thursday said she expected the deal to go ahead, after the US carmaker sought to allay fears of large-scale plant closures in the country.Two sources close to PSA have, however, told Reuters that job and plant cuts were part of the tie-up talks, with the two British sites of Vauxhall in the front line.

Germany is heading towards a federal election in September and any major job cuts at Opel could weaken the chances of Chancellor Angela Merkel getting re-elected for a fourth term.

GM said last week that it's in talks to sell its Opel and Vauxhall-branded operations to Peugeot owner PSA Group, prompting a flurry of diplomatic activity as Clark first sought talks with GM, and then with PSA and the French government, which part-owns the French manufacturer.

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"I will be using this meeting to press the case for the UK's world class facilities and workforce", he said.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it expected the meeting will take place next week.

GM and PSA so far have not given binding guarantees to preserve German jobs and factories at Opel, Deputy Economy Minister Matthias Machnig said when asked to comment on media reports, but he added there had been some encouraging signals.

"In the spirit of co-construction that is driving the PSA Group on a daily basis its own trade union representatives in France, the same approach is obviously being taken to contact the trade union organisations in Germany and the United Kingdom".

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