Cautious optimism

The CBI convenes today for its annual conference in London. Taking ‘Routes to Recovery’ as its theme, delegates will look at moving the economy forward, debate the future of industry as Britain emerges from recession and discuss the potential routes that the recovery can take.

The European Commission is hosting a meeting today of relevant parties to discuss General Motors’ plans for its Vauxhall and Opel brands. EU Industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen is hosting the meeting, with the head of GM Europe Nick Reilly, competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, and employment commissioner Vladimir Spidla expected to attend. GM Europe sparked talk of the green shoots of recovery earlier in the month when the automotive giant cited ‘an improving business environment’ when it cancelled the sale of a 55 per cent  majority stake in its European division to Canadian car parts company Magna International.

The outcome of the EC meeting is likely to be high on the agenda Unite’s National Industrial Sector Conferences which kick off in Brighton today. By Wednesday, when the conference agenda turns to Vehicle Building & Automotive, the future of GM Europe’s 50,000 employees - including 5,500 in the UK at Vauxhall’s Luton and Ellesmere Port plants - will be clearer, despite job cuts not being ruled out.

Jason Ford

News Editor