GM's Opel may cut 30 percent of jobs in Germany: report

FRANKFURT Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:35am EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's (GM.N) ailing German unit Opel may have to cut a third of all jobs in the country, German newspaper Bild reported on Saturday citing a source.

The person said Opel had agreed on a phased strategy with its parent General Motors that began by cutting the working hours of several thousand workers, a move announced earlier this week.

The newspaper reported that GM has given Opel a clear goal of 30 percent for the job cuts.

But Steve Girsky, president at GM Europe denied the report.

"There is no such strategy," he was quoted as saying by the paper. "It is not true that Opel plans such job cuts in Germany."

GM lost $747 million last year on its European operations, which include Vauxhall in Britain, as weak economies hit car sales in the region, forcing automakers to confront high fixed costs tied to running about 10 more car plants than needed in Europe, where demand for new vehicles is sliding.

In a separate statement Opel said: "The claim that Opel wants to cut one in every three jobs in Germany is untrue. It is irresponsible to our customers, our dealers and our approximately 40,000 employees. The Bild article damages our brand and puts our business at risk."

Opel earlier this week agreed with labor representatives to halt production for a total of 20 days at its main German factory in Ruesselsheim and its component plant in Kaiserslautern between September and the end of the year.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde and Jan Schwartz; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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