A deadline was set by General Motors and German labor union IG Metall for when they will come up with a definitive plan for the restructuring of Opel’s operations. They believe they can produce such a plan in over four months. When interviewed by Reuters, Oliver Burkhard, a senior IG Metall official, said that the talks are aimed to build a roadmap for Opel through 2016 and even beyond.
He said that the labor union is set on reaching a deal. Burkhard, the head of the region in charge of Opel's Bochum manufacturing plant, said that labor will still strive for a solution that would make it avoid closure at the end of 2016. Last Wednesday, GM, IG Metall and Opel's labor leaders said they have been meeting over a plan to end the production at the Bochum plant over four years from today.
What they want in exchange is a guarantee that German jobs will continue through 2016, when GM is slated to halt the production of the Zafira minivan at the factory. GM wants to reduce costs in Europe where new-car sales are expected to fall for the fifth consecutive year, partly due to the debt crisis in the region.
Opel/Vauxhall makes up the majority of GM's European business, which posted an operating loss of $256 million in the first-quarter. Last year, GM Europe reported losses of $747 million before interest and taxes and has posted $16.4 billion in losses since 1999.