Tomorrow, Thursday morning, GM will most likely announce that the new Opel Astra will be built at the Ellesmere Port plant near Liverpool, and no longer in Germany. This ends weeks of hard-nosed gamesmanship, where one plant was played against the other.
According to a report in the London Telegraph, workers at the Vauxhall plant voted on Wednesday on concessions. The results of the ballot are not announced yet, but British media treats it as a done deal.
Reuters says that Opel presented a catalogue of demands “including wage cuts, more temporary workers and outsourcing.”
The Daily Mail already seems to know that “Ellesmere Port and Gliwice in Poland will now become the only two manufacturing centres of the next generation Vauxhall Astra which hits showrooms from 2015.” The paper also is certain that “Opel’s Bochum plant in Germany, which builds the Zafira, is set for closure.”
A Daily Mail source opined that “The German unions will go bonkers.”
The source is probably right. The German Metal Worker union demands pay hikes from all automakers. There already were widespread warning strikes at Audi, BMW, Daimler and parts suppliers. GM and Opel are contractually precluded from closing any Opel plants in Europe through 2014. Jobs are likewise secure. Once plant closures are announced, it will be very tough working with the doomed workforce.