Opel and GM Return to Negotiating image

On Friday, March 16th, labor leaders at Opel urged GM to meet and reach a compromise, before GM’s ultimate solution of closing two vehicle plants.

On Wednesday, March 29th, management will present Opel’s supervisory board with a mid-term business plan that currently foresees the closure of two plants, one in the UK and one in Germany. Unions would vote against any plan to approve closures put to the board, which could threaten talks over a restructuring of the business.

Labor leaders said management should “clearly reject the public speculation (over plant closures) and agree to hold immediate constructive internal talks in order to prevent further damage to Opel/Vauxhall”.

GM’s European operations have lost billions over the last decade and closures are considered by the auto maker and investors as critical to restoring its profitability in the region. Union officials suggested GM to adopt the approach used by some rivals that have brought production back from abroad to Europe or begun to source more components internally, adding that manufacturing vehicles in Europe instead of importing would save the expense of heavy severance packages.

“Billions wasted on personnel cuts and plant closures could actually be invested in research and development instead.”