FRANKFURT Jan 29 German trade union IG Metall
wants General Motors to guarantee no Opel employee in the
Bochum car plant will join the ranks of the unemployed once
production ends, it said late on Tuesday.
Previously the union had never openly spoken of accepting a
closure of the Opel plant in the Ruhr industrial heartland.
"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," the union said in a statement ahead of further
restructuring talks scheduled for Wednesday.
"We demand security for the employees through the end of
IG Metall's statement acknowledged the dire state of the
European auto market that has shrunk to levels not seen since
"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 utilised only to 50 percent,"
the union said.
It warned that no German Opel plant was safe, now that the
weakest would be weeded out.
"In the short term the colleagues in the Bochum plant are
most affected, but in the mid-term no one is secure. No factory
has concrete assurances that ensure a sufficient utilisation of
its capacity even for the mid-term," said IG Metall.
When contacted by Reuters, Bochum's senior labour leader
said he would not oppose the catalog of union demands that
tacitly agree to a closure of his plant.
"There was a majority in favour, and as a democrat I have to
accept it," said Bochum's works council chief Rainer Einenkel,
who has fought for the plant to receive a new model when
production of the new Zafira Tourer MPV ends in 2016.
He found it "highly unusual" that the union would publish a
statement revealing its strategy for reaching a labour deal
governing the over 20,000 employees in Germany prior to
discussing it in private with management.
"I've never seen this happen before, and I have been a union
member for 40 years now," he said.