North-Rhein Westphalia’s (NRW) government has confirmed around 3,000 jobs are at stake as Opel looks to shut its Bochum plant in Germany once the Zafira model runs out in 2016.

No job loss numbers were given by the General Motors subsidiary when the announcement was made this week but the NRW administration – in whose State Bochum lies – revealed the figure to just-auto from its headquarters in Düsseldorf.

“There are already consultations going on – it was of course for some time known the company had the plan to reduce jobs in Bochum or maybe shut the whole thing down,” a spokeswoman for NRW Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry, Garrelt Duin, told just-auto.

“It is up [to] 3,000 jobs, we have this information in the Ministry, we have been told by Opel. It is of course a shock when the moment appears – it was a sort of shock to hear it right now. For a long time there were discussions about the future of this plant in Bochum and even the whole future of Opel.”

Despite the undoubted blow of up to 3,000 jobs being lost at Bochum, the North-Rhein Westphalia spokeswoman pointed to the relative robustness of the regional economy and Germany in general despite a modest slowing in forecast performance.

However, the NRW government is emphasising the need for the town of Bochum, Opel, its unions and the regional State, to work together to find new employment solutions.

“All these people have to be involved,” said the NRW spokeswoman. “Two months ago, there was a taskforce that was founded – this was a discussion between GM and Opel. The company has to work to give Bochum perspective.”

Bochum, a town of between 350,000 and 400,000 inhabitants, is situated at the heart of the Ruhrgebiet area in Germany, from Dortmund in the East to Duisberg and Cologne in the West.

“[The] Ruhrgebiet was the centre of coal-mining and steel and [has] seen some transformation in the last 20 years that were quite heavy,” said the NRW spokeswoman.

“You could really say they are successful in this transformation even though it is not as wealthy like Bayern [Bavaria].