By on February 25, 2013

By Thursday, GM wants to have a definite deal with the Opel unions  at least that’s the deadline Steve Girsky has set. The parties are further apart than Dems and Reps over the sequester. Steve Girsky wanted the unions to agree that Opel’s toolmaking, prototype building and central production planning will be outsourced, or moved to GM’s plant in Gliwice, Poland, Der Spiegel says.  The unions are rightly horrified.

Should the unions say yes to that move, which would cost 700 jobs at home in Rüsselsheim, GM was ready to continue making cars in Bochum until 2016, and possibly provide a few parts making jobs after that. If there is a nein, Bochum will be closed by the end of 2014, or so the ultimatum goes. Opel workers are meeting as we speak in Bochum.

The interesting part is that toolmaking, prototype building and central production planning are centerpieces in the auto business. The engineering of a car and production engineering are more and more part of one big system. Moving toolmaking and prototype building to Poland would shift Opel’s center of gravity – into a Gliwice plant that just has been shifted back to the mothership and that would be safe in case of an Opel bankruptcy.

PS: The meeting in Bochum ended with the workers being told that there is no deal. Girsky wants a deal by Thursday. The unions say no to GM’s offers. It’s a one-sided negotiation: All jobs are safe through 2014 …

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