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German carmaking giant Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, announced last month that it was to sell off its factory in Hambach, north-east France, where the Smart city car, another of the group’s marques, has been produced since 1997. Five years ago, staff at the plant accepted a management plan to abandon the legal 35-hour week, working a 39-hour week (excluding overtime) in return for job security. But now the 1,600 jobs at the site, turned over to making electric versions of the city car, are at risk, with just one potential purchaser in view: British company Ineos, which plans to produce a diesel-guzzling offroader. Dan Israel reports.
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