Germany′s Opel workers at Bochum are left in the dark | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 21.05.2012
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Germany's Opel workers at Bochum are left in the dark

Workers at the German Opel plant in Bochum have failed to get clarity on their future. A staff meeting hasn't brushed the production facility's possible closure off the table, but regional leaders have promised support.

Employees at carmaker Opel's production facility in Bochum, Germany, will have to continue to fear for their jobs, as a general staff meeting on Monday failed to provide clear answers regarding the plant's long-term perspectives.

GM's European division has incurred huge losses in recent years, and experts believe that the Bochum plant is likely to be shut down in the framework of a large-scale restructuring campaign to raise the carmaker's profitability.

Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke on Monday told the 3,200 employees in Bochum that he wanted to see profits again. "We have to move into positive territory again," he demanded. He said the Advisory Council would decide on the fate of GM's European plants on June 28, but added that the company would stick to a previous agreement not to make any compulsory redundancies before 2015 or close down any facilities before that date.

Political backing

Regional leaders in North Rhine-Westphalia, where Bochum is located, came out in support of the Opel workers. Social Democrat State Premier Hannelore Kraft called on GM's and Opel's management to put an end to rumors about any closures.

She said European facilities must not be played off against each other and claimed that Bochum had valuable assets to defend. "Bochum has a highly motivated and highly skilled workforce, and we have to look out for new perspectives for the plant," Kraft told employees on Monday.

Workers' Council Chief Rainer Einenkel said employees in Bochum stood ready to put up a fight. He rejected management calls to make more sacrifices and agree to further savings measures. "We're not going to pay a single cent for what might later become our funeral," Einenkel said in address to the workforce.

hg/gsw (Reuters, dpa)