Unions to challenge closure of Vauxhall

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The Independent Online

Trade unions warned MPs yesterday that they were considering a legal challenge against Vauxhall's decision to end car production at its Luton plant with the loss of 2,000 jobs.

Trade unions warned MPs yesterday that they were considering a legal challenge against Vauxhall's decision to end car production at its Luton plant with the loss of 2,000 jobs.

Union leaders said their lawyers were looking to test the plan to stop building Vectras at Luton next year. They attacked Vauxhall for "tearing up" an agreement on the plant's future. Their disclosure came as Nick Reilly, the Vauxhall chairman, was questioned over the redundancies by the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee during a special meeting at Luton Town Hall.

He told MPs the decision to end production had been taken because of over-capacity in cars across Europe, and because General Motors, which owns Vauxhall, was losing money.

But MPs and union leaders accused the company of breaking an agreement signed in 1998, which stated that the new Vectra would be built in Luton. Tony Woodley, chief negotiator for the Transport and General Workers' Union, said Vauxhall had taken the decision as a short-term measure and had chosen Luton because it was "easier, quicker and cheaper" to sack workers in Britain than elsewhere in Europe.

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