Opel won’t make similar cuts in Europe as Ford, union boss says image

General Motors’ European unit Opel will not see more severe downsizing than Ford’s restructuring measures in Europe, Opel top labour leader said.

Ford decided to close three factories and cut 5,700 jobs in Europe in order to reduce losses and make its European subsidiary break even by mid decade. However, Opel works council chairman Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug believes Opel management won’t propose other major closures.

The union boss added he aims to reach a deal with management over the future size of its workforce in Germany before Christmas. “I don’t expect that it will come to some huge number of job cuts as part of the restructuring, rather the opposite, much fewer. Only Bochum is up for discussion according to GM, no other Opel plants, whether in Germany or elsewhere in Europe,” Schaefer-Klug told Reuters.

He said he opposes Opel’s plans to close its plant in Bochum, but added that his top priority was to ensure workers have secure jobs come 2017, when the facility could be shut down, whether at Opel or not. Schaefer-Klug is negotiating with Opel and trade union IG Metall to extend a blanket job guarantee for the company’s four German sites by two years to the end of 2016.

In recent years, Opel has shut a factory in Belgium, a commercial van plant in Portugal and car manufacturing in its Luton, England facility.