Opel's main union at its Bochum plant in north west Germany, says its members are "more than angry" at the automaker's announcement it intends to close the factory in 2016.

Production will end at Bochum once the current Zafira model runs out in four year's time, although Opel said the plant warehouse would continue past that date and "could be expanded," while more component manufacture might also be given to the site.

However, such placatory moves have cut no ice with Opel's IG Metall union representing 3,000 of Bochum's 3,100 staff and which is calling on parent, GM, to consider alternative employment at the factory.

"For the people, it is more than angry," an IG Metall North-Rhein Westphalia spokesman told just-auto from Germany. "We say we will have a conflict and the first step now is to get a discussion in our group."

To that end, IG Metall is organising a meeting tomorrow (12 December) with its representatives at Bochum, but also Opel's other German plants of Rüsselsheim, Kaiserslautern and Eisenach.

"Nobody must go in unemployment," said the IG Metall spokesman. "If we have to build not so many cars we need other products such as components, also maybe logistics. GM has to help that other factories will also come to this industrial area."

The powerful IG Metall union echoed Opel's Group Works Council yesterday (10 December), which blamed the European automaker's current situation on "decades of management mistakes."

"The reason for this situation is not only in the South of Europe, it is also the situation for bad management," said the IG Metall spokesman.

It appears immediate industrial action will not be a course of action undertaken by IG Metall however, with its first priority being to discuss the situation with Opel's other major plants besides Bochum.

Ending vehicle production at Bochum is believed to be the first time such a situation has occurred in Germany since the end of World War II and comes at a time when several European manufacturers are looking at drastic plant closures and staffing reductions.

Only recently, Ford unveiled plans to close its Genk plant with 4,300 job losses and potentially thousands more in the supply chain, while PSA Peugeot Citroen intends to close its Aulnay plant near Paris and make up to 8,000 staff redundant.

The IG Metall spokesman added he thought talks with Opel could begin shortly before Christmas or at the beginning of next year.