From: Reuters
Published April 25, 2008 12:52 PM

Strike deadline at two GM plants extended

DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers on Friday delayed going on strike at a General Motors Corp <GM.N> assembly plant in Fairfax, Kansas, that builds the hot-selling Malibu sedan as well as a stamping plant in Michigan.

A GM spokesman said UAW Local 31 in Kansas has agreed to extend the strike deadline indefinitely as talks continue to negotiate a local contract. The hourly workers at the plant had originally faced an 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) deadline on Friday.

In Michigan, UAW Local 730 on its website on Friday posted a statement entitled "Strike Avoided" that said talks are continuing between negotiators for the union and the U.S. automaker but a settlement had not been reached. That plant's deadline had been 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Friday.

"As long as talks continue and progress is made workers will continue to work and the strike will be avoided," the union local in Michigan said in the statement.

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A similar indefinite deadline is in place at a GM transmission plant in Michigan. All three union locals must give 12 hours notice before a strike can take place.

GM already is dealing with a strike at its crossover assembly plant near Lansing, Michigan.

The Malibu is critical to GM's lineup as a rival to Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.T> Camry and Honda Motor Co Ltd's <7267.T> Accord sedans.

Meanwhile, GM also has partly idled about 30 plants due to parts shortages from a two-month UAW strike at supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc <AXL.N>.

GM's Fairfax plant, where the Saturn Aura sedan is also built, is the primary site for production of the newly redesigned Malibu. GM also assembles the Malibu at its Orion plant in Michigan.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman and David Bailey; Editing by Brian Moss and Mark Porter)

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