GM Reveals Cuts at Opel | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 10.12.2004
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GM Reveals Cuts at Opel

General Motors will cut up to 10,000 positions at its loss-making German unit Opel, the carmarker officially announced Thursday. The biggest loser is the main plant in Rüsselsheim.


Will they keep their jobs?

While earlier reports said US auto giant General Motors (GM) was going to cut 9,500 jobs, German news agency dpa said the company had later raised that number to 10,000.

The move is part of a wider €500 million ($660 million) cost-cutting drive.

Most of the jobs would be cut at Opel's main plant in Rüsselsheim, near Frankfurt, personnel chief Norbert Küpper told employees at a works meeting there on Thursday. Some 3,600 jobs would be axed at Bochum in western Germany and 400 positions in Kaiserslautern in the southwest, he added.

"Among the bad solutions -- and job cuts are always a bad solution -- this was the best achievable," said the head of Opel's works council in Bochum, Dietmar Hahn. The head of Opel's general works council Klaus Franz estimated that the restructuring would cost General Motors around $1 billion (€753 million).

Management and unions have been negotiating a drastic cost-saving and restructuring program for weeks. On Wednesday, Franz had said that the job cuts would not entail any compulsory redundancies or plant closures.

"Our joint aim is for the restructuring to be socially compatible and to create fair conditions for the allocation of production capacity in Europe in the future," Franz had said.

The lion's share of the job cuts would be implemented by transferring employees to special employment companies co-funded by the Federal Labor Agency.

For the rest, employees would be offered early retirement or voluntary redundancies.

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