This week, Opel will embark on a pan-European begging tour. Applications for government aid will be sent to Germany’s central government, Germany’s states with Opel plants, and to the European countries where Opel has a presence. A business plan, and an expert opinion from the little known CPA firm Warth & Klein will complete the package, writes Das Autohaus. Target of the funds drive are €2.7b. Opel management still counts on wage concessions of €265m per year over five years (a total of €1.3b). Unions and the Opel Works Council already have said “nein” to the concessions. Governments want to see the paperwork first,
If a country or a state gives money tied to keeping plants open, then the matter will be immediately shot down by the EU. Furthermore, Opel management must prove to the EU that in the medium term they can survive without the governmental drip feed. That’s a tall order. Hard to prove for Opel, and hard to imagine why anyone would donate to the cause unless the money secures jobs.
German media is already abuzz with an allegedly secret “Plan B” – which assumes that the funds drive will come in under target. In this case, be very afraid: Untold numbers of jobs would be axed, and wholesale closures of plants could ensue.
The unions are unimpressed by the posturing. They doubt that GM has the money to go it alone. Labor leader Klaus Franz warns GM to be careful with the what ifs: “It could easily be construed as blackmail.”