Opel: Closing Bochum plant in Europe would be massively costly image

According to some Opel labor leaders, losing one of its oldest factories in Germany – the Bochum plant would be massively costly and damage the company’s image.

This would cost GM billions,Rainer Einenkel, head of the works council at the Bochum factory said at a news conference on Saturday following a staff town hall meeting in the western German city of Bochum, Reuters reports.

He said union representatives had proposed allowing Opel to export its products to growing markets outside Europe, something GM has always resisted.

“The ball is now in management’s court”, he said, adding that “we are ready to talk at any time“.

On Wednesday, Opel avoided conflict with the unions on its board, preferring to return to the negotiating table rather than ram through thousands of job cuts in Britain and Germany.

Jobs at Opel are theoretically safe until the beginning of 2014, under an accord concluded at the last major shake-up in 2008 when 8,000 were lost, and current talks cover what might happen after that.

The Bochum plant directly employs about 3,100, but the works council estimates its closure would cost 45,000 jobs when related services companies and suppliers are added in.