Germany’s federal government is ruling out State aid for Opel’s Bochum plant whose vehicle production is slated to end in 2016 with the loss of up to 3,000 jobs.
News vehicle manufacture at Bochum would end has been the subject of speculation for some time, but despite the concrete announcement of Opel’s intention being made public, the move will not trigger financial help from Berlin.
The closure – thought to be the first time such drastic action has been taken at a German automaker since the end of World War II – has shocked regional and national politicians alike – in a country that is forecast to show a modest slowdown in industrial performance.
German Economics Minister, Phillip Rösler, said he understood “staff anger” at Opel’s decision to end Zafira vehicle production.
A spokesman for Rösler in Berlin confirmed to just-auto the German Economics Minister said: “The staff anger is understandable. [The] company’s decision [s] in the past need to be questioned.”
However, any hope the 3,000 staff at Bochum might have had the German federal government would come to their aid with a rescue package were dashed, when Rösler added: “There will be no financial aid as aid will not resolve the economic difficulties of the company in the future.”
Rösler’s spokesman also confirmed to just-auto from the German capital that the State of North-Rhein Westphalia and the town should now work together to find future solutions for the redundant staff.
Opel’s main union, IG Metall, said its members were “more than angry” at the decision to shutter Bochum in 2016 once the current Zafira model runs out in four year’s time.
However, Opel said the plant warehouse would continue past that date and “could be expanded,” while more component manufacture might also be given to the site.
For his part, General Motors vice-chairman, Steve Girsky, said: “Opel takes its responsibility seriously and will implement still-necessary job reductions in the most socially responsible way.”
“The goal of our negotiations with the Works Council is to refrain from forced redundancies before the run-out of the current Zafira.”