Opel extends layoff promise
General Motors Co’s (GM) Opel unit has agreed to extend by two years until the end of 2018 a guarantee that workers at three German plants would not face layoffs. Saturday’s announcement came days after new GM chief executive Mary Barra visited Opel’s headquarters in Ruesselsheim and said the company’s plant there would get the job of building a new vehicle. She reiterated a commitment to turn around the unit after years of losses. The agreement concluded this week by Opel management and employee representatives applies to plants in Ruesselsheim, Kaiserslautern and Eisenach. Opel says the latter factory will build the next generation of the Adam and Corsa models. Production at a fourth German Opel plant in Bochum is to finish at the end of this year.
Wage talks postponed
Wage talks between a militant South African union and three major platinum mine owners have been adjourned until tomorrow, government mediators said. “Details of the content of discussions between parties may not be revealed,” they said, adding that they had made proposals that the two sides will consider. “The employers need time to reflect on the proposals, and they will do an offer on Tuesday” said Jimmy Gama of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which launched the strike of about 80,000 miners on Jan. 23, crippling the platinum sector. For their part, the CEOs of the world’s top three platinum producers — Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin — said they would continue efforts to resolve the dispute while raising the specter of restructuring and layoffs if the strike persisted.
Cellino family eyeing Leeds
An Italian company run by the owners of Serie A team Cagliari is on the verge of taking over fallen English power Leeds United, pledging on Saturday to return the club to the Premier League. Leeds’ current owners, GFH Capital, a Bahraini investment bank, released a statement saying they have agreed to sell a 75 percent stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, which is run by the Cellino family. “They come to English football with an ambition to support Leeds United financially to take it to the Premier League and a belief that the club can sustain top-flight status,” GFH said in the Leeds statement. It added that the Cellino family “plan to invest substantially in the club.” The latest development comes amid a tumultuous few days at Leeds, with manager Brian McDermott saying on Friday that he was no longer in charge of the team after less than a year in the role.
Nigerian Areva mines reopen
Production resumed on Saturday at French nuclear giant Areva’s two uranium mines in Niger, which had shut down for weeks for maintenance amid hard-fought negotiations over the firm’s tax rate. “The machines are running and production resumed this morning,” Salifou Chipkaou, secretary general of mining union SYNAMIN, said by phone from the mining town of Arlit in northern Niger. An Areva spokesman confirmed that operations had resumed at the two mines, Cominak and Somair. The shutdown came as Niger’s government and the company, which is 80 percent owned by the French state, are holding tough talks over the future of uranium mining in the west African country, which is the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer, but is mired in poverty and ranks last on the UN’s Human Development Index.