Workers at General Motors’ German unit Adam Opel are seeking job guarantees until at least 2010, but management wants to lower pay and adjust working hours, Opel’s works council reportedly said on Wednesday.

Opel management proposed “cuts in income and social benefits for staff as well as changes in working time”, the works council said in a statement cited by Reuters, a stance at odds with labour’s call for preserving current pay levels and ensuring jobs.

Workers also want management to promise capacity and development projects for each plant and maintain training levels at the current round of wage talks, the report said.

An Opel spokesman confirmed to the news agency the terms management demanded, but wouldn’t provide additional details until the conclusion of negotiations expected towards the end of October.

Reuters noted that the negotiating stances mirror those at other big carmakers in Germany, where employers are seeking tough concessions from workers in order to boost competitiveness at a time of slack demand, pressure on prices and capacity overhang.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The talks are seen as a test of workers’ appetite for easing rigid work rules in return for job security in a process that could spur Europe’s biggest economy.

The news agency said Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, this week proposed a two-year wage freeze and a shift to more performance-related pay as a step toward cutting its German labour costs by 30% in six years.

The IG Metall metalworkers union and VW’s works council reportedly has insisted on a 4% pay rise and 10-year job guarantees in wage talks that start next month.

Reuters noted that, last month, DaimlerChrysler negotiated €500 million in annual cost savings from workers from 2007 in returning for guaranteeing 160,000 jobs in Germany until 2012.