A day before GM officially announced that the Astra production will be moved to Ellesmere Port, a move that is widely believed to seal the fate of Opel’s Bochum plant, we said that the decision won’t go down well in Germany, and that it will be very tough working with a doomed workforce. The workforce is already getting restive.
Opel’s works council chief Schäfer-Klug says he has evidence that the Ellesmere Port decision was bought with subsidies. According to EU law, subsidies are illegal, except under clearly defined circumstances. You may remember that it was the anti-subsidy rule that torpedoed GM’s plan back in 2009 to sell Opel jobs to the highest bidding country.
According to Automobilwoche [sub], members of the European Parliament already asked the European Commission to look into the matter, and that the Commission usually does not reject such a request.
UK business secretary Vince Cable denies that subsidies have been pledged. Opel also denies that subsidies were promised, but said that there are “a number of existing mechanisms in the UK for the support of the industry.”
One man’s subsidy is the other man’s support mechanism. We probably have not heard the last of this.