Negotiations at Opel Continue | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 21.10.2004
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Negotiations at Opel Continue

The assembly lines are running again at the Bochum plant of German car maker Opel after workers voted Wednesday to end their 6-day strike in protest at plans by US parent General Motors to cut 12,000 jobs in Europe.


Opel employees are back at work although their jobs are still at risk

The assembly lines were switched back on around 3 p.m. local time Wednesday.

In a secret ballot of the plant's workers, more than 4,600 of the 6,400 ballots handed back were in support of further negotiations with the management, and a return to work, Bochum's works council chief Dietmar Hahn said.

The move met with widespread relief.

"We're happy that another step has been taken in the right direction," said Klaus Hemmerling, a member of GM Europe's works council at a news conference.

Difficulties ahead

Negotiations between management and the works council to secure the 10,000 jobs threatened in Germany are set to resume Thursday.

"We would like to thank everyone for the decision reached today and look forward with confidence to working together with the employees' councils and the Bochum workforce," said a statement released by Opel's management in Rüsselsheim.

Dietmar Hahn also welcomed the outcome of the vote but predicted difficulties ahead. Further work stoppages haven't been ruled out.

Opel-Arbeiter demonstrieren, Plakat: Opel bleibt Basta!

Opel workers have been demonstrating against the proposed job cuts

Some Opel workers have reacted angrily to the secret ballot, because the way the question was formulated, voting to continue the strike would have also meant voting against further negotiations.

The strike action meant that some 6,500 cars were not completed. Opel has so far refused to comment on how much money was lost during the strike.

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