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Retaining jobs is key for GM-Magna deal

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Bill Radke: General Motors is confident about winning approval for the sale of its European divisions Opel and Vauxhaul. CEO Fritz Henderson says a deal with the Canadian auto parts-maker Magna could be wrapped up this week.

Meanwhile, Magna has been busy trying to win support of European labor unions. The company is talking today to Spanish workers, and as Christopher Werth reports, retaining jobs -- is job one.


Christopher Werth: Magna has said it could eliminate over 20 percent of Opel's 50,000-strong work force. That's left union and government leaders locked in a zero-sum game of deciding who will bear the brunt of those cuts. A gain for one country is a loss for another.

Germany has been accused of trying to save jobs at home by putting up the bulk of over $6 billion in guaranteed loans to Opel, a practice prohibited by the European Union, which would have to approve the deal.

Tim Urquhart is with IHS Global Insight.

Tim Urquhart: You know then you're in a situation where the respective national government can go to the EU and say, 'look hang on, everyone else has been playing the game with Magna and we're being left out in the cold here, you need to examine this deal as close as you can.' At the very least I think it's going to lead to delays, and delays for Opel at the moment are not good.

Magna made some progress yesterday. It reached an agreement with British labor leaders to keep both of its factories in the U.K. up and running beyond 2013.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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