By on December 30, 2009

Looks pretty dead. Picture courtesy dw-world.de

To have a chance of succeeding with its Opel turnaround, GM needs two things: Financial support from the European governments to the tune of €2.6b. And concessions by Opel workers worth €265m a year.  GM itself doesn’t have more than $600m to contribute. Not the best bargaining position.

Chances of government support are getting slimmer as time goes on. Now, Opel labor representatives flat out refuse any support if GM sticks to its turn-around plan for Opel. It is “totally unacceptable” said Opel labor leader Klaus Franz. “A reduction of 9,000 jobs in Europe is out of the question,” Franz said to the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Franz speaks for all European Opel workers.

Franz’s reasoning is interesting. He’s not so worried about the loss of jobs. He’s worried about the loss of money that comes along with giving government-mandated golden handshakes to 9000 people. Franz sees it as money wasted. Until 2013, natural attrition would result in a reduction of 10,500 jobs anyway – for free. ”Opel has already lost €800m by delaying its restructuring for more than a year,” said Franz. Unnecessary severance payments would come out of the hide of the remaining workers.

GM plans to start the negotiations with the unions mid January. They will be tough. “There will be no free rides,” said Franz. “We will not accept plant closures or job reductions.” That’s not all. The unions demand “maximum autonomy within GM,” a 10 percent share package for the workers, they want expanded co-determination, and last but  not least  “a coherent business plan.”

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5 Comments on “Opel Unions Reject GM Plan...”


  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, without a government’s protection Opel is inline to be the only brand dead at the end of the announced carmaggedon (if the Saab thing plays out). Good for consumers, the more companies left, the more competition, the better cars and prices.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “a coherent business plan” – now that’s crazy talk.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      If there’s any lack of credibility on GM:s behalf, it’s the lack of a coherent business plan. It makes the management and board looking like a bunch of headless chickens running around throwing things at walls to see what sticks. I find it utterly amazing that the company could have been managed without one, and mismanaged so horrendously without coming up with something, anything. What the f”k are they doing, without a plan? I mean, what are they thinking, how do they plan? Are they running the company known as the formerly largest auto maker in the world on a strictly need to know day to day basis? Like, they don’t know what will happen the day after tomorrow? Could someone explain this to me?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Franz has made a rather interesting personal journey from radical leftist to “co-manager of Opel” over the past 30+ years.
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/aug2009/fran-a01.shtml
     

  • avatar
    Steven02

    The last paragraph made me laugh.
     
    GM plans to start the negotiations with the unions mid January. They will be tough. “There will be no free rides,” said Franz. “We will not accept plant closures or job reductions.” That’s not all. The unions demand “maximum autonomy within GM,” a 10 percent share package for the workers, they want expanded co-determination, and last but  not least  “a coherent business plan.”
    How does one have “a coherent business plan” in Europe without job cuts and plant closures and plan to run Opel?  I thought the UAW was bad.

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