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GM’s Strasbourg staff vote ‘yes’ to pay freeze to protect jobs

Employees of the General Motors plant in Strasbourg gave a ringing endorsement Monday of a plan that includes stringent new cost-cutting measures and harsher working condition so General Motors can take back the plant from administrators.

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  Employees of a car plant in the eastern French city of Strasbourg have given a ringing endorsement to harsher new working conditions to enable their former employer, General Motors (GM, now known as GMC), to take back the plant a year after emerging from a government-financed bankruptcy filing.   Out of 929 voters (97% of employees), 645 (70.65%) voted in favour of GMC’s offer, with 268 votes against, and 16 blank or spoiled ballots.   General Motors lost many of its European assets when it filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, but has gradually begun recovering them after successfully restructuring its operations into a new group, General Motors Company (GMC). Its offer to take back the Strasbourg plant came after state administrators failed to find another buyer for the site.   The company promised not to cut any jobs if employees agreed to drastically readjust their working conditions. Aside from a 2-year salary freeze, employees will also give up their share of company benefits until 2013, and lose more than a third of their 16 RTTs (days off that compensate for working overtime). The measures will cut labour costs by 10%.   The left-wing CGT union had called on its members to vote against the plan, but the FO, CFDT and CFTC unions had all pronounced themselves in favour of it.   GMC’s Strasburg management said it a statement that it was “very satisfied” by the employee’s “massive approval”, which showed that they are “well aware that the future of the plant and its workers is everyone’s top priority”.  
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