GERMANY: IG Metall voices pessimism Opel will change its mind on Bochum closure
Opel's largest union says it is not hopeful rejection of the automaker's Bochum restructuring deal will see General Motors change its mind concerning the plant's closure.
IG Metall members voted overwhelmingly to turn down GM managment's proposals that would have seen the Bochum plant continue as a components producer, but which now looks likely to see car production ended.
Despite securing a 70% rejection of Opel's deal that would have seen Bochum transformed into a parts manufacturer and expanded warehouse centre, it nonetheless appears the union has widely differing approaches within its ranks to future Opel talks.
"Members say, maybe we get a better result if we say no at this time," an IG Metall spokesman told just-auto from Germany. [But] "General Motors clearly said there is nothing [no reason] to have a new negotiation.
"It is possible production will stop in 2014 - we have said this to the people [union members] - but not to give them hope it will be possible to have a better result.
"I cannot have this hope, I am not hopeful."
Of the 2,200 IG Metall members who voted, some 69.3% of those eligible, 76% delivered a resounding 'no' to the Opel deal, an outcome that will now see GM's European division close the Bochum factory when Zafira Tourer production ends in 2014.
"The pessimistic option is Bochum will be closed at the end of 2014," said the IG Metall spokesman. "There is an idea by some of our members, there must [could] be a better result.
"Another part says if they close our factory, they must give us money. Another says I need the job and I will have [accept] the result of the negotiation, nearly 25% say we need this result."
IG Metall has spoken to the North-Rhein Westphalia government, in whose State the Bochum site is situated, but of more pressing concern may be Germany's upcoming general election, whose outcome is bound to heavily focus on the economy and in which regional voters will have the automaker's plight in mind.
The union plans no immediate talks with Opel and the manufacturer has itself ruled out negotiations with the labour body, although the IG Metall spokesman did not close the door entirely on contact between the two parties.
"I am sure we will have contact with Opel, but I think we need some weeks for the next step," said the IG Metall spokesman.
Union workers at GM's Dudenhofen, Russelsheim and Kaiserslauten plants voted with large majorities in favour of GM's reorganisation plan.