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Germany

Opel job cut compensation package not enough, says workers' council

With plans to cut nearly 40 percent of its workforce at a plant in Bochum, Opel has proposed compensation measures for long-term workers. But the workers' council says the package isn't enough.

An Opel logo on a car

Some workers will have to leave Opel, but not empty-handed

Proposed compensation measures for long-term workers facing lay-offs at an Opel plant in the German city of Bochum could be as high as six figures, the car-maker said on Tuesday.

Using a formula that takes into account a person's age, time spent with the company, and current monthly salary, Opel will work out a figure to be paid to any long-term workers who lose their jobs as part of cost-cutting measures.

For example, a 54-year-old worker who has been with the company 24 years and earns 3,000 euros ($3,856) per month would receive around 100,000 euros in compensation.

Rainer Einenkel

Einenkel is not satisfied with Opel's proposed compensation plan

Not enough for workers' council

However, the Opel workers' council says that this isn't enough.

"We would have like to have seen more," said Rainer Einenkel, head of the workers' council, in an interview with the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

He added that in the past, compensation packages at Opel had been higher.

As part of cost-cutting measures, Opel plans to eliminate 1,800 of the roughly 5,000 jobs at its plant in Bochum. The current compensation package on the table was not negotiated by the workers' council.

The council is critical of the proposal because workers will only be compensated for a maximum of 24 years of service with the company and the payout cannot exceed 250,000 euros.

GM headquarters in Detroit

GM hopes to be back on the stock market soon

Payment plan from General Motors

Meanwhile, Opel's American parent company General Motors has reached an agreement with European trade unions to pay compensation should GM fail to hold up its end of restructuring agreements for Opel.

GM has pledged to invest in restructuring measures at Opel plants in Germany and other parts of Europe. Between 2011 and 2014, GM has now agreed to pay Opel workers 265 million euros per year if it fails to invest in new innovations.

General Motors has recently returned to profitability after declaring bankruptcy in the United States, and the company is expected to reveal its plans to return to the stock market in the next few days.

Author: Matt Zuvela (Reuters/dpa/apn)
Editor: Rob Turner

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