By on February 19, 2010

Imagine you’re a Belgian worker at GM’s plant in Antwerp. You’ve had to endure jokes about being the “sick man” of GM Europe’s family and had the sword of Damocles hanging over you. You then get told that you’re being shut down at a time when the economy is fragile, at best. How would you feel? Bad? Angry? Helpless? Well, GM’s just about you kick you while you’re down. The BBC reports that GM Europe are going to create an extra 700 jobs at their plant at Gilwice, Poland. But wait! There’s more! The reason these new jobs have come about is because they want to increase production of GM’s new Astra model, the very car which GM Antwerp made. The Gilwice plant will now operate 24 hours a day over three shifts. Ulrich Weber, Opel Spokesperson, told the BBC that “This has been planned for a long time, and will be in operation by the middle of the year,”. I’m sure that’ll come as some comfort for the Belgian employees. However, these new jobs in Poland don’t represent a change of heart from Vauxhall/Opel. They re-iterated their plans to cut 8,300 jobs across Europe. And by “across Europe” they mean those jobs in those expensive countries like Germany, Spain and The U.K.

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11 Comments on “Opel Knows What The EU Likes...”


  • avatar
    levi

    “They re-iterated their plans to cut 8,300 jobs across Europe. And by “across Europe” they mean those jobs in those expensive countries like Germany, Spain and The U.K.”

    Welcome to the United States of Europe.

    Welcome to the Brave New World.

    Please leave what you thought was your lifestyle at the border.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    but the issue is similar to the US, even worse. I don’t know specifics about Belgium but in Germany the situation is:
    – work on Sundays illegal (unless special permission granted by the state)
    – very high pay for semi-unskilled labor (I say semi unskilled, because every move they have to be trained for, they can arrive at the factory with no prior knowledge,unless like when you are an engineer where you already need to know stuff)
    – many holidays, 30 days of vacation, unlimited paid sick leave

    It is apparent that the workers don’t want to work, but a paycheck. Now they got their wish, no more work. In Poland, the people appreciate the opportunity more and work on weekends (with overtime pay) if needed. The car business is fluctuating a lot, and capital-intensive. The production process needs to be flexible. If more cars are ordered, the workers NEED to work more.

    I used to work at a VW plant in Saxony. And at the time VW was in the hole and had all their savings programs to turn around. then many cars were ordered but the factory could not build them because Ester week was around the corner and so many % of the workers have the right to take weeks of vacation around certain times, like Easter. Of course, the “Betriebsrat” insisted on that right and the cars couldn’t get build. I assume one of the Czech VW plants picked up that order. Instead of helping your employer retaining jobs, getting overtime pay, you rather go on vacation. From all I know, that was a good plant, the West German plants are much much worse when it comes to unions and their privileges. they used to have 27-hour weeks at the assembly and still made thousands. I think they now are back to 35-hours(poor them). I once want to spend my vacation as relaxed as a Western European car factory worker spends his work day.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      I wish that for you, too. I imagine that you would not last one of those 27 hours. All this Union bashing from those who are “above” that is just repulsive. Benefits are offered in lieu of wage increases. The multi-national corporations have set these rules, not the “semi-skilled” workers.

    • 0 avatar

      The issue of unions is somewhat of a red herring. Certainly, unions in civilized countries are criminal organizations that must be put outside the law and their leaders given good jail time. However, Poland is well unionized too. It’s just retarded German laws that are the factor here.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      what do you think who influenced those laws? Same way int he US, who influenced the laws in the “forced union” states?

      elections are won in Germany with help of the unions, so they are in the US and anywhere else.

      I’m not disputing that someone who works hard should get good money and benefits. We all want that. But there could be some “seeing the writing on the wall” that your company actually has to sell some product and when costumers order cars they better make some.

      Those big union leaders make pretty big bucks for not doing much, how are they different than those “capitalists”. Ever read “Animal Farm”?

      the thing with unionists is, when it is about their own job, they want everyone to buy American, or buy union made. But I bet you every union worker in the US or Western Europe gladly buys the fanciest Plasma TV at the lowest cost he can get, regardless of where it was made and how the work conditions in China are. Of course, later at home they complain about cheap labor ruins our country, but they (and we all) gladly participate when it is to their benefit. There is no international solidarity.

      Sure those corporate thugs are worse than union bosses, same principle but at a larger scale. That doesn’t make unions good. My neighbor killed 3 people, I only killed 1 person.. still doesn’t make me a good person, but I can tell that my neighbor is worse than me. I hope all unions either adapt to reality, or have the same fate as the largest union that ever existed, the Soviet Union.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    The Corporate thugs are much worse that any union boss ever thought about being. Bribing Government thugs to get laws changed and tax exemptions. “Screw the Little Guy” should be their motto.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    There are many reasons that Unions came to be. The main reason was for worker protection and safety. Corporations were out of control, similar to the way conditions are in so many counties around the world. Unions, or something like a union, are the direct outcome of corporate abuse of workers. Now, with Corporations given the privilege/power to buy elections, I can imagine that the anti-union laws will get even stronger. Reagan was the beginning of the end of any protection for workers (think Air Traffic Controllers) in America.

  • avatar
    tech98

    This reminds me of IBM, who in the midst of laying off thousands of American professionals offered them jobs at their expanding operations in India — at Indian pay scales. Jerks.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    With the Politicians being financed by the large corporations, laws have been changed to allow IBM, GM, BofA and others to send American jobs and American money elsewhere in their crusade to destroy the American unions. This is what has happened since Americans started being fooled by “conservatives”. They say one thing and do another (both parties).

  • avatar
    kitzler

    If you own a piece of these corporations, then the corporations work for you. In such cases, you do have a voice in shareholder meeting to express your discontent about executive pay or whatever else bothers you.

    BUT, in all instances when you keep your mouth shut or go along with union or executive abuse, then you ought to swallow hard and let these corporations act in the best interest of their owners. As far as the worker is concerned, if he/she thinks they are being exploited, then quit and find a better job. NOBODY owes you a living.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      + 1
      I think I’m underpaid and exploited at my job too and want more money… but I can get an education, or apply for a better job to make that happen, or do a good job and get promoted.
      Sure there are shity employers that never value the “human resource”. but one can leave them. Good and succesful companies value their (good) workers and develop them.

      In the end employees are just a necessity. noone wants to create jobs, that is just a lie to get tax money. Everyone wants to build and sell computers, airplanes, bread and employees are necessary to do so. Demand and supply. Obvioulsy there is a shortage of skilled and educated workers, and they can find good jobs. there is oversupply of uneducated workers, and their wages will be lower and they are less likely to find jobs. Has been that way for 100000 years, the talented blacksmith always had good money since he could make tools at Ceasars times, the untalented one became an underpaid laborer. Has been the same in Communism, so all the union people, don’t hold your breath, going to North Korea won’t bring you a better life either. It is just how humans are.


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