GM Close to Pact to Cut Working Hours at German Plants image

GM and its labor representatives are close to reach an agreement to shorten the workdays at several German facilities.

Next week GM is expected to announce shorter standard workday or week at two of GM’s Opel plants, part of the company’s plan to stem the financial losses in Europe. Over the past weeks, talks between GM, IG Metall union and the German government have intensified, fueled by the continuous drop of the European auto sales.

The ‘short-time program’ which is about to be implemented, will allow GM to expand or contract a workday or week based on demand at the two Opel’s factories, which currently have 15,500 workers. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug, Opel’s labor chief, confirmed the talks between the three parties, and added that shortening the workday or week is definitely a better solution than laying off employees.

This new program will give the automaker the possibility to run the facilities long one week when there is increased demand and short another when there is less. The government agreed to subsidize part of the workers salaries on the shortened days or weeks. Cutting the number of working hours is an important step forward for GM, compared to other automakers who struggle in the loss-making Europe, such as Fiat and Ford.