November 4, 2009 / 7:02 PM / 10 years ago

GM Europe chief sees "massive cuts" at Opel-paper

BERLIN, Nov 4 (Reuters) - General Motors’ [GM.UL] Europe head Carl-Peter Forster expects massive cuts at Opel after GM decided to hold on to the European carmaker, he was quoted saying in a German newspaper. “We had negotiated a good restructuring plan which was ready and on the table,” Forster was quoted as saying in top-selling Bild newspaper, in an advance copy of an interview to be published on Thursday.

“Now there is a danger that the sensible distribution of the burden we had agreed will unravel and the process will start all over again. One thing is certain: even with this solution, there will be massive cuts,” he was quoted as saying.

Forster also said he had been surprised by GM’s decision not to sell Opel, as previously agreed, and that negotiations with GM should start as soon as possible.

“I do not think the process was in any way okay,” Forster told reporters at an event in Berlin, adding he hoped a solution would be found which would take account of Opel workers’ jobs.

Opel employs about 50,000 people in Europe, about half of which are in Germany. Under Magna’s plan, about 10,000 jobs were expected to go.

The surprise decision by GM to keep Opel rather than sell it to a consortium led by Canadian supplier Magna shocked the German government which had lobbied for a sale. [ID:nL4519517] (Reporting by Brian Rohan; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by David Holmes)

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