Opel logistics center in Bochum to stay until 2016

Article by Anita Panait, on May 23, 2013

Opel’s spare-parts distribution center at its Bochum site in Germany will remain open until 2016, two years after vehicle production ends at the plant. Alexander Bazio, a spokesman for the site, remarked that retention of the center until 2016 is Opel’s approach of fulfilling a contract with Neovia Logistics Services LLC that expires in three years.

Opel has scheduled to shut down its Bochum plant by the end of 2014 after the site’s workers rejected a restructuring plan in March 2013 that would have lengthen its operations until 2016 in exchange for wage concessions.

Opel had disclosed that the 430-strong distribution center, which supplies spare components to dealers in Europe, would be shut down when the site stops building vehicles. Opel's management, lead by chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann, is currently holding talks with unions over early retirement and severance packages for the Bochum site's 3,000-strong workforce.

Employees at General Motor’s four other sites in Germany have signed an agreement for a wage freeze in exchange for the carmaker’s vow to avoid mass layoffs through 2016. Workers at the Bochum site rejected an agreement that would have extended the Zafira production until the current model expires at end of 2016. It would have resulted to the retention of around 1,200 workers in component manufacturing and logistics at the site beyond 2016.

The site’s workers stopped production Tuesday during a works council information meeting that lasted over two-and-a-half hours. Rainer Einenkel, head of the site’s works council, said during the meeting that Opel would have to invest around EUR100 million ($129 million) to shift production of the current Zafira to its Ruesselsheim plant. Bazio, however, said that Opel sees the output shift of the Zafira as "economically viable."

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