GERMANY: Works council slams "decades of mistakes" as Opel ends Bochum production
Opel's works council has slammed the automaker for "decades of management mistakes" and is threatening to withdraw any potential concessions unless the company offers "serious" talks on its German operations.
The General Motors-owned European division today (10 December) announced it would stop vehicle production at its Bochum plant in 2016 with up to 3,000 job losses, but Opel's works council has delivered a withering assessment of the company's actions.
In comments confirmed to just-auto by the Opel group works council in Russelsheim, chairman Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug said: "The current situation of Opel... is a result of decades of management mistakes and the lacking continuity of company policy.
"It is now the colleagues in Bochum [who] have to face the music. We are still waiting today for clear commitments Chevrolet vehicles will be produced in Europe. Furthermore, production of the current successful Opel Mokka would put capacity into European plants."
Schaefer-Klug called on Opel management to "get serious" about talks and present plans for all German plants. "If they do not, there will be no concessions on the employees' side," he said.
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.
Despite today's bad news that will see production end at Bochum once the current Zafira model runs out in 2016, Opel said the plant warehouse would continue past that date and "could be expanded".
Opel is also negotiating with employee representatives to allocate more component production to Bochum.
Separately, a working group called Bochum Perspective 2022, recently established by Opel, is looking at site development opportunities "to secure existing jobs and create new ones in the city of Bochum and the entire Ruhr region."
Neither GM, nor the IG Metall union were immediately available for comment.