Opel: a deal over the restructuring money-losing brand may come in 2-3 months image

According to Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug, Opel labor leader – a deal with management over the restructuring of Opel could be achieved in two to three months, paving the way for a return to profitability, Autonews reports.

A spokesman for Opel said talks with the umbrella organization of European workers, the European works council, over future strategy are ongoing. He didn’t comment on details.

Late Sunday, GM’s European division said it presented the strategy for the upcoming compact-car generation to its labor unions, suggesting a key element of the division’s turnaround plan could be finalized soon.

Following weeks of uncertainty and rumours about possible Opel factory closures it emerged on Monday that from 2015 production of the Astra, a popular model, could be halted at Rüsselsheim. The Astra would instead be built exclusively at Ellesmere Port, UK, and Gliwice, Poland.

The reason why GM’s European branch is considering such a drastic option has to do with reducing costs, as the Ellesmere Port and Gliwice factories are said to be cheaper and more flexible to operate than Rüsselsheim, which pays its workers more.

The move would boost annual production of the Astra from 145,000 to 205,000 units in Ellesmere Port – in a three-shift operation.

Ellesmere Port, which employs 2,100 workers directly, has been one of the plants earmarked for closure under a review of GM’s continental operations.

Opel/Vauxhall lost $747m (£463m) last year – a performance described by GM as “simply unacceptable”.