Report: Opel labor boss wants to make deal with General Motors

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

In what is perceived to be a complete turnaround, Opel labor leader Klaus Franz had decided to negotiate a deal with General Motors Co. and has dropped opposition to grant 265 million euros ($394 million) in annual wage concessions.

It appears that Fran's change of heart began after his first meeting with GM Chairman Ed Whitacre.

Franz described Whitacre, the former AT&T CEO, as someone who "thinks outside the box" and who is open to unconventional ideas, which the GM's headquarters has never had much of.

Klaus Franz had initial misgivings about Whitacre but now comments that he is a different type of manager from the others in GM's past.

He said that it's "refreshing" to be able to talk to someone who has had extensive experience outside of the company.

In an interview with Reuters after a meeting with Whitacre in Detroit, Franz said that Whitacre truly wants the union's cooperation and isn't hoping for a confrontation.

Franz's comments are a bit bewildering since only two weeks ago, he said that labor would insist on having its lawyers attend during negotiations with GM.

Moreover, Franz even referred to management's pledges to grant greater freedom to its European operations as little more than "sweet-sounding arias." [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: opel, germany, gm

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