Opel workers seek to keep plants open for two years image

Workers at Adam Opel GmbH, the General Motors Co. unit being sold to a group led by Magna International Inc., are seeking a pledge to keep all of the European carmaker’s factories open for at least two years.

Labor leaders would accept plant closings and forced layoffs after 2011 if Opel’s efforts to expand fail, Armin Schild, an IG Metall union official who is on the division’s supervisory board, said today in a phone interview.

“To give New Opel a chance to succeed, all employees at all locations need to be involved,” Schild said. “It won’t be easy, but we have a chance to achieve savings targets for a two- year transitional period without forced layoffs and plant clos

Magna International Inc.Image via Wikipedia


Opel’s European labor representatives met today in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim with executives from the carmaker and Magna to work on an agreement for cutting costs. Employees would get a 10 percent stake in Opel, the maker of the Astra compact, in exchange for concessions valued at about 1.2 billion euros ($1.8 billion) a year.

New Opel could achieve the savings goal by reducing wages in proportion to shorter work hours and cutting bonuses and vacation pay, Schild said. Headcount could be lowered by several thousand people a year by not replacing employees who retire or leave, and by offering buyouts, he said.

Seeking Faster Rollouts

All of Opel’s plants could remain in operation if new models, such as a planned small sport-utility vehicle based on the Corsa compact, were brought to market faster and produced in Europe, he said.