Opel Unions Want Their Very Own Jobs Bank Program

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
opel unions want their very own jobs bank program

Germany’s metal worker union IG Metall proposed a new plan yesterday to solve the overcapacity at Opel without undue grief on its members: The union will agree to the closure of Opel’s Bochum plant, if Opel guarantees that no hobs will be lost until 2018. Reuters takes that as a tacit warming up to the inevitable, while demanding the seemingly impossible.

“Previously the union had never openly spoken of accepting a closure of the Opel plant in the Ruhr industrial heartland,” Reuters says. And this is what IG Metall says:

“In order to ensure that workers do not solely bear the risks of restructuring the Bochum site, we must guarantee that no one is unemployed once the manufacturing of the current vehicle ends.”

“We demand security for the employees through the end of 2018.”

“The economic situation of the company (Opel) is worse than ever before and has reached a dimension that threatens its existence. Due to a historically low market share, the production plants in Europe are utilized only to 50 percent,”

Of course, the thought comes to mind that closing a factory while keeping workers on the payroll doing nothing is a bit counter-productive. Don’t blame the German unions for not being open to new ideas that have worked wonderfully elsewhere. GM and the UAW’s former consultant Steve Girsky should be intimately familiar with the program. Before GM went bust, 12,000 UAW members were paid not to work as part of the jobs bank program, and IG Metall demands equal unpaid time for its members.

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  • Patriotic_wish Patriotic_wish on Jan 30, 2013

    You killed my father...prepare for scholastic remediation! How is Opel's quality control? If the workers cannot count their own fingers, one might presuppose that auto assembly might lie...ummm...beyond their grasp?

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Jan 30, 2013

    GM's NA Jobs bank cost $0.8 Billion a year and with other contractual "entitlement obligations totalling $8.0 Billion a year at the end. None of these costs were borne by offshore competitors.

  • Vent-L-8 Vent-L-8 on Jan 30, 2013

    make sure and read the middle part in a German accent.

  • Olddavid Olddavid on Jan 30, 2013

    Compared to the salaries and benefits of the upper floors, still-born advertising campaigns, etc., allowing a slow wind-down of a worker's career is hardly an onerous expense. As our society has decided to give special tax allowances to corporations that site their operations in state or country X, a reasonable payback would be, in essence, a blue-collar "golden parachute". Now, the wisdom of either should be open to debate, but framed by including the absurdities of all parties. Like the fireman on a diesel engine, or why the railroad was given one mile of land on each side of the tracks. This is not new.