In an effort to save jobs, European Metalworkers Federation leaders at five General Motors Corp. assembly plants in Europe have agreed not to bid against each other for compact-car production.

The unprecedented move calls for GM to divide production of its next-generation compact model line, expected to debut in 2010.

Union leaders, who have pledged to cooperate instead of competing, represent workers at GM plants in Antwerp, Belgium; Bochum, Germany; Gilwice, Poland; Trollhattan, Sweden; and Ellesmere Port, England.

The auto maker employs about 25,000 hourly workers in these plants.