Opel’s Bochum Plant to be Closed? image

Opel, under GM’s pressure to end loses, is uncertain of the Bochum plant’s future.

Opel refused to assure its workers from the Bochum plant, Germany, that they will still have a job after 2014. The plant, which is situated in the Ruhr region where coal mine are being closed, will be shut down after the company begins to produce the well-known Astra compact in Poland and Britain where wages are cheaper. If the plant closes, 45,000 employees will remain jobless.

In the last four years Germany has faced other plants’ closure, and adding another one would be an election issue in the 2013 federal vote. Employees hoped that CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke will save the plant with his mid-term business plan, which unfortunately can not be submitted to the supervisory board earlier than June 28th.

“There is no decision for Bochum beyond 2014,” said Stracke.

The rumors that Bochum will close came last week after GM announced it will stop production of Astra at Opel’s major plant in Russelsheim, Germany, focusing only on Britain’s Ellesmere Port and Gliwice in Poland.

“Demand for Opel vehicles across Europe plunged 16 percent in the first three months of the year. That’s why GM will reduce capacities,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “I expect the Bochum factory to be shut down after 2014.”