Representatives of European metalworkers’ unions have slammed Germany’s decision to deny GM’s Opel division EUR1.3bn (US$1.6bn) in loan guarantees as evidence of an “absolutely divided” coalition government.
Following yesterday’s (9 June) decision by Liberal economics minister Rainer Bruderle to turn down Opel’s request with his casting vote, the Christian Democrat chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting regional government heads this afternoon (10 June 2010) in a bid to revive the deal.
“My guess is there is something internal in the coalition – there is probably a game inside,” European Metalworkers Federation (EMF) general secretary Peter Scherrer told just-auto.
“We don’t want workers in Germany suffering by little games inside the government. The German government is absolutely divided – it is more than obvious.”
Scherrer noted Merkel was seeing four Länder prime ministers today to try to restart the loan guarantee negotiations, a meeting that has now become the focus for Opel and its unions.
“Of course we were always in favour of guarantees, this is not a loan, it is not GM asking for money,” said Scherrer.
“I think they will make it possible this loan, from the Länder, they have a vital interest. We can’t expect now that we get money from the US or guarantees from the US.”
Only recently the unions signed Opel’s framework agreement paving the way for capacity reduction but also potentially releasing investment for future product investment.
Merkel’s coalition has come under a sustained barrage of criticism of late, particularly as she battles to secure approval of the country’s drastic budgetary measures that will potentially involve painful cuts.
The budget discussions are also taking place against plans to shore up the Eurozone and to prevent the spread of economic contagion.