Fate of Opel′s German plant in Bochum sealed | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.04.2013
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Fate of Opel's German plant in Bochum sealed

The supervisory board of German carmaker Opel has decided to accept the executives' resolve to close its facility in the western German town of Bochum by the end of 2014. Thousands of jobs are affected.

Opel's supervisory board confirmed on Wednesday that no more cars would come off the assembly lines at the Bochum plant towards the end of next year. The final decision to close the plant came after a meeting of the board in Rüsselsheim where the subsidiary of US giant General Motors is headquartered.

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GM invests in Opel, but not in Bochum

Opel said no decision was reached on where Bochum's Zafira model would in future be produced.

The sealing of the plant closure followed last month's vote by the 3,000 or so Opel workers in Bochum rejecting the company's restructuring plans for the facility.

GM Vice-President Steve Girsky had said the company regretted the move but accepted the workers' decision and their unwillingness to put up with required savings measures.

Relocating production?

Earlier on Wednesday, Opel's staff council chief, Rainer Einenkel, told Deutschlandfunk radio that he hoped the company's management would finally realize that the carmaker as a whole had no future without the Bochum plant. He said that about 40,000 people in the area depended on the Bochum plant.

"A plant closure would have dramatic effects on the image of Opel as a brand," Einenkel argued. "I think shareholders should take that into consideration."

Einenkel also called on Opel's other facilities in Germany and across Europe to show solidarity with the Bochum workforce. "I expect the staff at other factories to reject taking over our Zafira production," he told the German newspaper Rheinische Post. Units that currently produce the similar Astra compact would theoretically be an option Opel's management might think of.

The Astra is assembled in Rüsselsheim, Germany, Gliwice in Poland and Ellesmere Port in the UK.

hg/rc (dpa, Reuters)

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