Talks with General Motors Co.'s management over a plan for the future of its European unit are expected to be concluded by the middle of February, according to Opel labor leader Klaus Franz.
However, the labor leader says that there isn't a large time window before they're able to get everything resolved.
When asked if a management plan to halve Opel's expected 2009 loss to only 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) next year was realistic, Franz responds that he didn't come up with those numbers but he assumes that special effects are excluded. He was referring to charges related to 8,300 planned job cuts in Europe.
Franz relates that if Opel had already been restructured then its 2009 loss would have been 700 million to 900 million euros higher. The cutting of jobs had been repeatedly put off.
Franz added that labor's demands for Opel's plant in Antwerp, Belgium, to be kept open and to there be no forced layoffs continue to be disputed.
He said that another glaring obstacle is whether GM would agree to reduce the 5% royalty Opel paid to the parent company for every car sold.
Franz is in talks with GM over offering 265 million euros in wage concessions for the 50,000 employees at Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall.