General Motors’ German unit Adam Opel reportedly said on Friday it wants to freeze workers’ pay to the end of 2009 and extend the work week to 40 hours from 35 without raising wages, confirming a report in Germany’s Bild newspaper.

According to Reuters, the paper said other demands that the carmaker presented to its labour force in wage talks that started this week included cutting year-end and holiday bonuses and reducing extra pay for working late and weekend shifts.

An Opel spokesman told the news agency the details of the report were accurate but declined further comment, saying the company did not want to get into a public debate about the negotiations.

The company’s works council declined comment on what the paper called management’s “torture list”, Reuters noted.

The works council reportedly said on Wednesday it was seeking job guarantees until at least 2010, while management wanted to lower pay and add working hours for more than 30,000 staff.

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Workers also want management to promise capacity and development projects for each plant and maintain training levels at the talks, set to run into late October, the report added.

Reuters said the negotiating stances reflect 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. The talks are seen as a test of workers’ willingness to ease rigid work rules in return for job security in a process that could spur Europe’s biggest economy.

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

Last month, Reuters said, DaimlerChrysler agreed €500 million euros ($US604 million) in annual cost savings from workers from 2007 in return for guaranteeing 160,000 jobs in Germany until 2012.