HAMBURG Jan 30 Trade unions have accepted the
prospect of Germany's first car plant closure in decades and are
now pushing for a painless exit for workers at the Opel factory
The factory was built half a century ago atop an abandoned
coal mine in Germany's now economically depressed steel
Production there is due to end in 2016. A senior labour
official told Reuters the unions hope to reach a deal with Opel
parent General Motors Co that offers the workers some
prospect of further employment.
On Tuesday, union IG Metall's headquarters in Frankfurt
distributed a list of demands for talks that have dragged on
since June, in which it made clear it had effectively declared
the fight for Bochum lost.
It hopes to receive guarantees from GM and Opel that the
Bochum employees will have some kind of work until the end of
"Our goal remains to keep vehicle production in Bochum and I
think it would be foolish at the moment to entirely rule that
out in the future. But we have to understand that there are no
such plans currently," said Armin Schild, regional boss of IG
"So the only thing we are left with then is to list our
minimum demands for the Bochum plant that don't include vehicle
production. While we haven't given up on our goal, we have to
cope with the realities created by management."
GM expects to post an operating loss of at least $1.5
billion in Europe for last year amid a severe slump in the
market, with only a slight improvement expected in 2013.