By on June 1, 2011

After tedious negotiations, and only after an arbitrator was brought in, GM’s Opel finally has a deal for its Bochum plant in Germany. As planned, 1,800 jobs will be cut. The deal will cost GM dearly.

According to Automobilwoche [sub], workers who leave will receive golden parachutes of up to $360,000 a head. You did read right. 300 workers will get a job in Rüsselsheim, and up to $36,000 for being inconvenienced by a move 150 miles south.

If workers hurry and leave, or decide to go south, before June 15 comes around, they can pocket another inducement to the tune of up to 5 months salaries. Ka-ching!




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35 Comments on “How To Get Rich Quick: Lose Your Job At Opel, Collect $360,000...”

  • avatar

    it’s expensive moving jobs to China.

    • 0 avatar

      Wham-O moved 50% of their production back to the US. NCR, General Electric, and Caterpillar have also moved jobs back to the US.

      By 2015, when considering both labor costs and productivity, China won’t be any cheaper than the US.

      Already two or three years ago wages along the coast were rising so quickly that manufacturers started moving inland, even into Manchuria. By 2015, wages in the industrialized coast of China will be about 69% of American wages.

      I don’t do it anymore, but I used to publish a couple of new aggregator sites on the Chinese and Indian car industries. An important thing to remember is that quickly growing economies generally have significant wage inflation.

  • avatar

    if GM had declared bankruptcy they could have laid off people with less cost… Oh, I see… they declared bankruptcy…

    I have to go to work now, because if I don’t show up, I doubt I get 360K Euros

    • 0 avatar

      I am not a lawyer, but I play one in the comments section….GM declared bankruptcy in the United States and I suspect that does not directly apply to a German company subsidiary (Opel). If Opel is incorporated in Germany, it would have to declare bankruptcy to have an effect on German workers in bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes – GM is only the complete owner of all Opel stock, but Opel did not declare bancruptcy. If they had, they would have been able to get rid of workers more easily, but then GM would have lost its ownership. Also, German bancruptcy laws are not as nice to the company as american Chapter 11…

    • 0 avatar

      If GM declared Opel bankrupt it would have been sold to the Russians. The bankruptcy of the holding company doesn’t mean the bankruptcy of its daughters

  • avatar

    It’s nice to see our tax dollars helping our foreigner brothers so well. Nice T-shirt that young man has on, speaks more about him than he can say through that bullhorn. They really should park that windfall in a good indexed mutual fund because it’s probably the last gift they will get.

    Someone asked me why I bought a foreign made car. I went one better and bought one not made by the UAW or Che Guevara either.

  • avatar

    “up to $360,000 a head”

    In other words, the plant manager gets $300K and the rest of the layoffs get a nice sandwich.

    Or do you have any actual data?

    • 0 avatar

      Nice trick there, you do know that the plant manager isn’t in the union and even if he loses his job, he won’t be a part of that settlement. It is union thugs only. But you know that, you just can’t get past the blind, unthinking worker good, management evil socialism you’re infected with.

      • 0 avatar

        That little ‘up to’ still stands out. I’d like to see all of the details as to how the figure for each worker is determined. It’s possible that those not electing to take the new job get a greater payout, in which case the sum could be thought of as a lump sum pension payout. For a 20 year employee a couple hundred thousand to split ways with no strings isn’t ridiculous, and might even save GM in the long run vs. actual pension and benefit costs.

      • 0 avatar

        Or I’m smart enough to realize that “they’ll get up to $360K” was there to please some union boss and the actual workers will get nowhere near that. Any time you hear “up to” before a number, that number is bullshit. What the hell is the median “golden parachute”? That information might actually be useful.

        Telling us what the maximum number is is absolutely useless and is done just to get a knee-jerk reaction from you, Mike. (And it’s working!)

      • 0 avatar

        you seem to show unthinking worker bad, management good. I am not in a union so I don`t speak from personal experience but as with most things some unions are badly run, others are not. Just like companies.

      • 0 avatar

        I remember back in the last rounds of VW voluntary job cuts (back in 2005 i think), the amount of severance started somewhere at 40k € – for people who had only finished their official job training (which, in germany is a 3 year process) and gotten their unlimited contracts. People who had been at VW for ~20 years could get up to 200k€ (tax free until the laws about that got changed). If you decided quickly, you got an additional 50k – no matter what your job was before…

        I heard from several people at VW that this lead to a mass exodus of qualified people with 5-10 years of experience, who could easily find a job at other companies. I heard the awesome story of one guy who worked at VW for 7 years after his degree, took ~120.000 € with him, left to work for a engineering company with about the same salary.

        There he got assigned to do R&D work for VW, in exactly the same capacity as before. He even got to keep his desk and office in Wolfsburg. The only thing that changed was his email, which afterwards sported a nice “EXTERNAL:”.

        He has last year been rehired by VW when times got better, and now is back to his old email adresss and better than before salary. He is however living in a way nicer house than before…

        The problem with this sort of severance payments is that usually the qualified people, who will get another job easily will leave. Never the ones you actually want to go away. However it isn’t easy to get rid of employees in germany in another way. Something to think about when complaining about the UAW the next time ;)

        To the poster above: Official pension payments are not done by the company in germany, but via state pensions which every employee pays for. If Opel had some sort of “Betriebsrente” (additional company pension plan, which are quite common), the employees contributions to that plan won’t be affected by these severance packages. Usually the quoted sum is actually what will be paid out to the employee if he decides to leave, pre-tax of course…

  • avatar

    The ultimate socialism. Obama would be proud!
    And if King gets his way, this is how it will work here too.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s called contract law, something capitalists ostensibly support. If you don’t like it, you can negotiate it otherwise.

      If you don’t like being at the business end of idiot contracts with golden parachute clauses, don’t negotiate them in the first place. Recall that it was GM’s own management that caved on union demands because they didn’t want to lose yearly sales bonuses and were ok with punting the decision to the next round.

  • avatar

    that photo is absolutely priceless!

  • avatar

    Yeah, Bertel too bad you didn’t have a job with Opel. I applaud their good fortune.

    Last I looked, Germany handled the US “free market” created recession far better than we did with their so-called Socialist policies. (ooh, bad word!)

    This place is getting ridiculous. Do you get equally angry at oil company subsidies and the cost of illegal wars and such? Why is it always directed at individuals who you feel are getting some sort of free pass that you didn’t have access to?

    Where’s todays article on the auto bailout?

    • 0 avatar

      First thing, you are slamming the guy you voted for by saying Germany handled the recession better than we did. Second thing, find a free market in this country and show me proof it is completely free. The auto companies sure aren’t free market.

      The subsidies consist of oil companies taking advantage of the tax code just like your favorites GE and Google. Get mad at every business because they all do it. Get mad at your people in Congress too, up until this January, they controlled everything and could have rewritten the tax code. And yeah people who geta free pass that I pay for I have a right to me angry at them. Anyone who wears a Che shirt in the West is deserving contempt. Che was a murderer and thug who got exactly what he deserved.

      • 0 avatar

        That you consider “slamming the guy you voted for” a bad thing says a lot more about you than it does about him.

      • 0 avatar

        People who were smart enough not to vote for Obama can justly direct their contempt at those who were not.

      • 0 avatar

        Anyone who wears a Che shirt in the West is deserving contempt. Che was a murderer and thug who got exactly what he deserved.

        Be careful throwing around “murderer” casually. Not that I like the guy’s methods—I don’t—but it’s a very easy slide into condemning people whom you ostensibly support as well. It comes back to bite you when your own soldiers are put in a bad place and accused of the same.

        Guevara, and a lot of the people who follow him, were soldiers. Givent hat, tet’s extend this: was Garibaldi a murderer? Patton? George-frikkin’-Washington?

        Do you want to haul anyone involved in armed conflict off to the Hague and have the ethics of the situation adjudicated? Personally, I’d like to see that happen because I think we’d have a lot less conflict, and a lot less horror, if there were universally enforceable repercussions.

      • 0 avatar

        Psar, read some of the books about Che and the revolutions. Some that were written by honest writers, not sychophants and apologists. Che Guevara was an animal who gloried in death and destruction. It wasn’t a cause for him it was the opportunity to slaughter. If you excuse him then you must excuse “soldiers” like Mengele and his ilk.

      • 0 avatar


        Not the appropriate forum, but I have read books on both sides of the Che question. And I don’t agree with the methods, but Che is about on par with Guiseppe Garibaldi or Simon Bolivar and not even on the same planet as Josef Mengele.

        Had you said, say, Robert Mugabe I’d at least have given you points for coming up with a reasonable example, but Mengele!? Are you seriously that lacking in perspective?

      • 0 avatar

        Actually Mengele was the first war criminal name I could come up with and both were doctors, so it’s a valid comparison. Mugabe might be better though considering his past as a revolutionary thug.

      • 0 avatar

        Psar, any one of the jihadi physicians of death come to mind if you think that Mengele is over the top.

        I have a lot of respect for you, though we disagree politically. I’m really disappointed to see you try to engage is some moral relativism and equate Che with Bolivar or Garibaldi. To say that Che was a soldier is to degrade soldiers. He was pathological, either psychopathic or sociopathic.

        Guevara gloried in blood. He had hundreds of political prisoners executed.

        Also, would you accord Menachem Begin the same level of respect you give to Che, let alone Garibaldi and Bolivar?

      • 0 avatar

        “And yeah people who geta free pass that I pay for I have a right to me angry at them.”

        No, you haven’t – you don’t pay for this agreement. As Opel is a different firm than GM, they alone are liable for whatever contract they negotiate and they alone are qualified to get money from whatever “Infrastrukturprogramm” currently is in order to pay for local restructuring in Northrhine-Westphalia or the city of Bochum. So it probably is actually MY taxmoney. And since I am perfectly able to read the little “up to” and I don’t want to disintegrate Bochum into the state of, um… Detroit, I am absolutely willing to pay them out. See, the difference is – we try to hold our money together. This is why we didn’t want to buy Opel out of the old GM, it would just have meant that German taxpayer money would go down one pipe in the Renaissance Center. So we can be fairly sure that our money is put to good use now, or at least better than any use it would have had in the past.

  • avatar

    @GS650G and tallnikita: +1. As if I needed yet another reason to not ever buy a GM product, mass murderer T shirts!

  • avatar

    Why does it seem that every comments section these days descends into a bunch of girly-man whining about politics and not cars? I don’t know what website all the intelligent posters went to, but I need to find it.

    Yes, 360k is a lot of money, and no, not everybody will qualify for it. Line workers are usually compensated based on years of service. But 360k is more of a severance package than the engineers got.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr Schmidt — I believe grew up in Germany. He was the beneficiary of a good public education, health care, his elderly relatives receive pensions. IE – the social safety net is strong and the government provides for its citizens.

      So why this disparaging of the things you benefitted from in this and other articles. wouldn’t a simple thank you be somewhat more graceful.

      I have a friend whose family was UAW and he worked briefly in the factories – he hated it and is no lover of the unions but – those good union salaries paid his way to college enabling him to become an architect/contractor and employ many people on his job sites. This generating further wealth.

      Does any of this register – does the thought of a living wage so disgust you. The basis of America’s middle class and former wealth that you now benefit from – was the Marshal Plan after WW2. This was a government program that led to the America we are familiar with. An America that is being destroyed be a pernicious blend of nihilism and solipsism.

      • 0 avatar

        It sure sounds like a nice severance, but like others have mentioned, it’s a number without much context.

        I wonder if there’s comparable outrage here when we learn that CEOs who preside over disastrous management are compensated 350x their median employee salary, and leave with golden parachutes that would make Croesus blush.

        As for clothing-that-speaks-volumes, how galling is it for CEOs to wear ties that cost a worker week’s pay when announcing layoffs?

      • 0 avatar

        The Marshall Plan had to do with rebuilding Europe after the war, not with the growth of the American middle class (a lot of which took place in the 1950s). Material shortages, price and other governmental controls and labor strikes hampered economic development in the immediate post war period.

  • avatar

    Bertel sure is good at chumming up the right wing sharks into a feeding frenzy. I guess his years as an ad man served him well.

    Unfortunately for Herr Schmitt, I can actually read German, and I’ve found some much better information.

    The 360K figure he quoted was a voluntary retirement program. These workers have a government matched retirement fund, which, for the highest paid worker after 30 years could potentially allow them to get $360,000 (Roughly speaking, due to exchange rates.) If we do some division, we find that their retirement fund has 12k a year. So even if we assume that all of these workers are making the maximum pay (Which they are not)at the plant, the vast majority of them will receive nowhere near that amount of money, as they have not been around for 30 years. When the union returns my e-mails, I should be able to get far more complete numbers.

    Bertel, I’m not trying to be an asshole here, but you should at least TRY to make some effort to do fact checking. That’s the difference between a journalist and a propagandist.

    • 0 avatar

      Also, it turns out my numbers were even a little high due to the incentives Opel is throwing in for those who take the early retirement. This is a pretty common practice among downsizing or closing corporations, really. Even here in the US, the mine my father worked for offered a similar program when it closed nearly a decade ago.

  • avatar

    “Che Guevara was an animal who gloried in death and destruction”

    Sounds like Bush

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