Opel and labor unions in talks to close Bochum plant

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 15, 2012

Opel is prepared to guarantee German jobs until 2016 if labor unions agree on a deal to shut down the Bochum plant when the production of the Zafira Tourer van is halted. In the next several weeks, negotiations will continue between the management of Opel(the European unit of General Motors) and the IG Metall trade union and the German plants’ works council representatives.

The talks will be centered on reaching a deal over job cuts, wages, producing a more extensive range of models, and a expanding deeper into export markets. In a statement, Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke said that the company has to work towards sustainable positive results for its operations in Germany.

He added that Opel has to make adjustments to its business so that it becomes profitable even when market conditions are difficult. He believes that to wait longer before making moves would be “irresponsible,” especially since the 2012 industry volumes are predicted to decline by 20%. Opel said that it doesn’t only want to cut costs, it also aims to not be so dependent on imported vehicles and parts.

Last Tuesday, Reuters reported that GM's board of directors was set to make its decision on the shutting down of the Bochum plant as part of a business plan through 2016 that will be introduced on June 28 to Opel's top labor leaders.

According to this compromise deal, GM and Opel would be able to lessen its fixed cost base by allowing Bochum to wind down its production with the ending of the life cycle of Zafira Tourer, set for the end of 2016.

This will mean that Bochum’s 3,300 workers will lose their jobs. Opel management is ready to give up on considerations of ending production in 2015 to continue a labor deal that seeks to protect the more than 20,000 German workers at Opel's three car plants and one component plant.

Topics: opel, plant

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