The head of General Motors Co.’s works council told German newspaper Rheinische Post that 1,200 jobs at its Opel plant in Bochum, Germany, will be cut and that workers will be notified on May 1, 2011.
Rainer Einenkel told the newspaper that Opel had previously planned to slash the Bochum workforce by 1,800 posts through voluntary departures but only 600 accepted the proposal, adding that such move resulted in GM ''asking me seriously to approve'' the firing of 1,200 workers. GM had sought to reduce staff voluntarily by offering severance payments and helping to find other employment.
Opel, GM’s European unit, is now offering some workers the possibility of relocating to its Ruesselsheim plant, where there are 300 vacant positions, together with cash incentives of up to EUR25,000 ($35,481). An Opel spokesman told the newspaper that talks on the subject were ongoing with personnel and employee representatives.
GM expects Opel to break even in 2011 before starting to generate profit for its parent company from 2012. GM cut 8,000 jobs from a 48,000-strong workforce across Europe and closed its Antwerp, Belgium facility.
And in 2009, GM dropped plans to spin off Opel, backtracking on months of negotiations to sell it. The German government openly opposed any sale. CEO Nick Reilly has said that Opel has essentially negated perceptions among European consumers that it may not survive; however, it may take about five years to restore the brand's image in its German home market. [via Autonews - sub. required]