GM's Brazil unit, union to hold more talks on job cuts

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General Motors’ Brazilian unit and labor leaders Wednesday wrapped up a new round of talks on Wednesday without reaching agreement on planned cuts of some 1,600 jobs, saying more talks would be held later this week.

Last August, the US carmaker and the Metalworkers’ Union reached a deal to delay layoffs at the GM facility in Sao Jose dos Campos near Sao Paulo until January 26, now just three days away.

“We set a new meeting for Saturday morning. In our view there was some movement, but not enough to reach an accord,” a GM spokesman told AFP. “The union made some concrete proposals.”

The union confirmed that it made new proposals to avert the layoffs and said that GM for the first time agreed to reconsider the job cuts.

“We are prepared to reach an accord, but we won’t accept layoffs,” union president Antonio Ferreira de Barros said after the meeting, which also was attended by state and federal government representatives.

The union, which said it is determined to save all of the threatened jobs at the plant located some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Sao Paulo.

“We want investments in the plant and the deal we are proposing would make that possible,” said union Secretary general Luiz Carlos Prates.

Noting that GM said it planned to announce this year major investments in Brazil for the next three to five years, the union said the Sao Jose dos Campos facility, which has eight plants and employs 7,500 workers, should be a recipient.

Last week, Luiz Moan, GM’s head of institutional relations said the company was seeking “greater competitiveness” and believed a deal could be reached if the union “presents concrete measures” showing more flexibility.

The union has urged President Dilma Rousseff to step in to stop the layoffs, since GM is benefiting from government tax incentives.

On Tuesday, GM management and the union held another unproductive round of bargaining, one day after thousands of auto workers staged a 24-hour protest strike.

The protesters blocked traffic on a road outside the plant with burned tires and unfurled banners during the demonstration, including one urging Rousseff to “ban the layoffs at GM.”

The union has estimated that the layoffs would translate into a total loss of around 15,000 jobs in Sao Jose dos Campos, an industrial city which is home to more than 600,000 people.

General Motors workers vote during a rally to protest against the closure of GM’s MVA assembly facility, on August 2, 2012, in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. General Motors’ Brazilian unit and labor leaders Wednesday wrapped up a new round of talks on Wednesday without reaching agreement on planned cuts of some 1,600 jobs, saying more talks would be held later this week.

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