Opel labour urges management to return to talks

FRANKFURT, March 23 Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:01am EDT

FRANKFURT, March 23 (Reuters) - The labour leaders of Opel, the loss-making European unit of General Motors, urged management to return to the negotiating table immediately to hold constructive talks amid plans by Opel managers to close plants.

The GM unit currently has excess annual capacity equivalent to some 500,000 vehicles, or about two plants.

But instead of eliminating the fixed costs - as management is currently considering - labour wants group vehicles imported to Europe to be built here instead. This would save the company the expense of heavy severance packages.

The Opel-Vauxhall labour leaders said on Friday they "demand that management clearly reject the public speculation (over plant closures) and agrees to hold immediate constructive internal talks in order to prevent further damage to Opel/Vauxhall."