Opel to cut working hours at German facilities | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 23.08.2012
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Opel to cut working hours at German facilities

Following years of unprofitable operations, General Motors' European subsidiary Opel has announced it'll have to reduce staff working hours work soon. Thousands will be affected at two facilities in Germany.

German carmaker Opel will reduce working hours at two key plants from September, the loss-making European unit of US giant General Motors announced on Thursday.

"In consultation with the works' council and the IG Metall labor union, Opel will introduce short-time work at its plants in Rüsselsheim and Kaiserslautern," the company said in a statement. "It was agreed that 20 working days would be cut between September and the end of the year."

The measure, which comes in response to ongoing market slumps, will impact 6,800 employees working in Rüsselsheim's and Kaiserslautern's production and administration departments. The 7,000 employees in Opel's research and development unit in Kaiserlautern will avoid the cuts.

Sales dilemma

The German carmaker once again proved a financial burden in the first half of the year for parent company General Motors by posting a net loss of 500 million euros ($627.8 million). Sales dipped by another 15 percent over the same period.

Opel has had enormous difficulties to utilize its production capacities to the full, with sales particularly to the crisis-stricken southern European nations continuing to be in a free fall. GM does not allow the German carmaker to seek alternative markets outside of Europe.

The ailing German automaker is currently trying to wriggle out of the crisis in cooperation with France's Peugeot by marketing a couple of new brands of the next few years.

hg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dapd, dpa)