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Workers at Belgian General Motors extend strike to protest layoffs, restructuring

Workers at Belgian General Motors extend strike to protest layoffs, restructuring

Workers at the General Motors Opel plant in Antwerp on Wednesday extended their strike to protest plans to lay off 1,400 workers and reduce production under company restructuring plans.
The weeklong strike was to end on Thursday to coincide with union-management talks, but since those negotiations were delayed, the strike will now last until next Tuesday, union officials said.
The plant, which currently employs 5,100 people, is facing a phaseout of production of the Astra model under plans announced by GM earlier this month. The next generation of the Astra will be built at plants in Germany, Sweden, Poland and Britain.
The company said it would like to shift Antwerp's production to building 80,000 Chevrolet model cars, and possibly the production of another unspecified 60,000 cars of another model.
Unions, however, said they would demand higher production quotas to save jobs at the plant, which currently makes 220,000 cars annually.