GM's Euro-Trash: All Agree On Opel Deal, Except For The Union Boss

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
gm s euro trash all agree on opel deal except for the union boss

I shall not be moved: Opel union chief Einenkel

Messy, messy, messy: Can’t even close a proper deal with the unions. GM and the unions have an agreement. It is basically as reported this morning. The deal has the signatures of management and unions. One signature is missing, reports Die Welt: That of Bochum works council chief Rainer Einenkel.

With the missing signature, there are doubts whether the deal is legally binding. Says Die Welt: “The courts may have to decide.”

Both GM and the metal worker union IG Metall are interested in bringing the matter behind them. Steve Girsky needs to report mission accomplished to Detroit ( even if the result is dubious). The metal worker union already has its eyes on a much bigger prize: The new round of collective bargaining.

The unions want a raise for all 3.7 million German metalworkers, and the chances are good. Volkswagen reported record earnings, BMW and Daimler also have solid profits. The unions want 5.5 percent more this year. They would have bargained for more, would Ford and Opel not be in the poorhouse in Europe. GM wants to pay its workers zero percent more, “but the Americans don’t know the German system well enough,” Opel-union boss Schäfer-Klug told Focus. “Germany has a collective bargaining system, and Opel can’t undermine it. Neither IG Metall nor the other automakers will accept that.”

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8 of 28 comments
  • Herb Herb on Feb 28, 2013

    "Always look at the bright side of life", especially, if living in the US! Should there be a free-trade agreement between the US and the EU you will be able to drown Europe with cheap cars from the Americas. No GM or Ford production facilities needed in Europe anymore. European Greens will be delighted. How's that?

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 28, 2013

    @Big Al from Oz--I was originally for the government loans for GM & Chrysler but this is not a sustainable business model. GM cannot really afford this and there is a limit to how much taxpayers can afford. I originally thought that GM keeping Opel was good but GM needs to get rid of Opel by either finding a buyer which I doubt they can, or closing Opel like they have with Saab, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Oldsmobile. It would be better for GM to cut their loses on this and just import Daewos. Opels are good cars but when you are struggling to stay in business you cannot afford any pay raises. Pay scales have been going down or are frozen for many American workers and it should be frozen for auto workers and management including top officers until the economy gets better and the company becomes self sustaining. I agree Al this is not a sustainable model even for Ford whose North American operations have been carrying its European operations. Government loans and government subsidies are not sustainable.

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    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 01, 2013

      @Big Al from Oz Jeff S As I've always stated the vehicle manufacturing industry will follow the aerospace manufacturers. It just that the vehicle manufacturers are 20 years behind. I can envisage no more than half a dozen major vehicle manufacturers eventually, 20-30 years out, not including China which is anyones guess.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 01, 2013

    @Big Al from Oz--I am not trying to be a yes man, but you have said this on PUTC for a couple of years and have gotten flack for this. You are correct and the auto industry as it is, is not a sustainable model. This is a repeat of the British auto industry and the Swedish auto industy from the 70s and 80s except this is on a much larger scale. If you remember British industries in the 70s, such as British Leyland went through this and were taken over by the government. The same with Volvo and Saab in Sweden. When Margaret Thacther became Prime Minister of GB the government started to privitize the industry. Now Britian to my best knowledge does not own any of their auto industry. Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover, BMW owns Rolls Royce and the Mini Cooper, VW owns Bentley, a Chinese company owns the rights to make the Rover. Not too long ago Ford owned Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo,and Aston Martin but sold them off to get needed revenue and concentrate on their NA operations. Now Geely owns Volvo. Shared products and platforms are necessary to reduce costs. Also containing labor costs and management salaries. Corporate executives should not receive such large salaries and they should not get bonuses when the company is doing poorly. I agree Al that Fiat might end up one of the major players in the NA market with the acquisition of Chrysler. So far Chrysler has been making all the right moves which in the past it was the opposite. I can see a possible merger of GM with Ford if GM continues to dig a deeper hole. This could be where the government forces a merger with Ford playing a similiar role to Fiat. On the otherhand it could be a non US corporation takes GM over or even the Chinese. GM at the very least needs to either unload or close the Opel operations.

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    • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on May 04, 2013

      Volvo and Saab were purchased and ruined by US companies. They were original and quirky enough they could have probably survived on their own quite nicely. Well, Volvo at least. GM turned Saab into a name on a badge. BL had no innovation.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 02, 2013

    @Big Al from Oz--Yes. Just like all GM autos 40 years ago had "Body by Fisher" on the bottom of the door frame. GM needs a car person to lead them similiar to an Iaccoca. I don't have any problems with GM using Opel and Holden platforms, they are proven platforms, but the problem is keeping an operation like Opel that is bleeding cash when GM has been given government loans from America, Australia, and other countries just to survive. Opel needs to be jettisoned from GM and GM needs to get an experienced car person to lead them otherwise they will be on death watch. GM's new products are much better but they need to be run better and put their emphasis on quality and not on flooding the market with their products in order to become number 1. I am not anti GM. I currently own a GM products and have owned a Buick and several Chevys. I would just like to see GM just get their act together and be operated like a profitable corporation with an eye to the consumer and quality.