Opel Unions Show United Front

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
opel unions show united front

Last week, Opel’s labor representatives complained that GM does not want to negotiate with them. Now it’s the unions that don’t want to talk. Today, labor representatives of eight countries sent Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke a letter. The letter consisted of only one sentence, written in eight languages:

“We will not negotiate with you on a local level.”

The tight-lipped missive follows plans by GM management to close the plants in Bochum and Ellesmere Port, and to export jobs to low cost countries. The unions have a different version: GM wants to play the individual sites against each other. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Opel’s production chief Peter Thom had confronted each site with a catalog of demands. Sites that do not agree to these demands could find themselves out of work.

Jobs and sites are safe through 2014. The unions are not under time pressure. GM however needs to stop the bleeding of money ASAP.

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  • Critchdizzle Critchdizzle on Mar 26, 2012

    Not to be nitpicky but shouldn't it be "in Bochum" instead of "ion Bochum?"

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 26, 2012

    I don't blame the unions for trying this, but the end result might be that all of Opel sinks. Then the union(s) can declare victory.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Mar 26, 2012

    'Stagflation' is occurring world-wide. Especially among countries who adopt legacy currencies (US$, Euro, et al.) The issue with the Euro GM workers is the same as it is for US/Canadian GM workers. They have been severely overpaid for far too long. The only way to recoup this cost would be passing the cost onto the consumer, or to seek a government bailout. Cut and dried. 'The chickens have come home to roost', so to speak.

    • See 2 previous
    • Ubermensch Ubermensch on Mar 27, 2012

      @Remi "This is an unintended consequence of NAFTA, other free trade agreements and the new world economy." No, reduced wages was THE intended consequence of globalization policies. The whole point of NAFTA and other policies was to open up labor competition to low wage markets like Mexico in order to drive down wages in the U.S. and other western economies.

  • GS650G GS650G on Mar 26, 2012

    These problems could all be solved by huge sales increases and higher profits across the board. Failing that, profitability be restored the old fashioned way.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 27, 2012

      As soon as the car companies make a profit, the unions suck the life out of it.