PSA Says Will Honor Existing Opel Labor Agreements

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The logo of German car manufacturer Opel is pictured at the compnay headquarters in Ruesselsheim , Germany February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski (Copyright Reuters 2017)

PSA Group will respect existing Opel and Vauxhall labor agreements if it buys the European arm of General Motors (GM), PSA and Opel workers' representatives said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

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PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, and GM said last week they were in talks over the sale of Opel and sister brand Vauxhall to the French carmaker, sparking concerns in Germany and Britain of job losses and demands for close collaboration with labor leaders.

PSA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares met with representatives of powerful German labor union IG Metall and Opel's European works council on Monday to discuss the impact of any deal on existing sites and jobs.

PSA said it would cooperate with IG Metall and the European works council to jointly set out a path to forge a major European carmaker while safeguarding the future of Opel and its staff.

Some existing labor agreements stretch beyond 2020.

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"Tavares communicated convincingly in the talks that he is interested in a sustainable development for Opel/Vauxhall as an independent company ... Thus, we are ready to explore further the chances of a potential coming together," European works council chief Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug said in the statement.

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PSA plans to work closely with Opel unions including IG Metall to "find a path to the creation of a European champion with Franco-German roots," the Paris-based company said in an emailed statement.

Germany accounts for about half of Opel's 38,000 staff, while 4,500 are in Britain where Opel operates as Vauxhall.

Two sources close to PSA told Reuters last week that job and plant cuts were part of the tie-up talks, with the two Vauxhall sites in Britain in the front line.