Opel’s Works Council is looking to secure the future of its existing contracts with the automaker following the sudden departure of Karl-Friedrich Stracke as CEO.

Stracke is being replaced in the interim by former United Auto Workers (UAW) representative, Steve Girsky, who was also an adviser to the labour union, but his temporary appointment has left the Works Council in something of a limbo state.

Only last month, Opel was talking to its unions about extending a deal to avoid compulsory redundancies from 2014 to 2016 and delay a 2012 wage rise agreement and the Works Council is anxious to ensure such contracts are set in stone.

“Are our contracts binding or not?” an Opel Works Council representative told just-auto from Germany. “This is the important thing – we have to wait what General Motors will decide further.

“It [Steve Girsky] is a part-time solution, but I don’t know if it is good or bad, we have to look what happens.”

The Works Council spokesman also outlined his ‘surprise’ at Stracke’s abrupt removal from the top job at Opel, given his relatively short tenure at the helm.

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“We were surprised Stracke left because he was just 15 months in this position,” he said.”It was not very long and we hoped he would stay longer just because it is more calm in the business.

“It [Stracke departure] is a private reason and nobody knows it apart from [GM CEO] Dan Akerson. There are a lot of uncertainties about the ways which are before us – I am not optimistic or pessimistic.”

GM also said its management and works councils would discuss the future use of Rüsselsheim, Eisenach and Kaiserslautern and the future of the Bochum plants – there are separate car and transmission factories several kilometres apart.

However, Bochum looks highly likely to shut with GM noting last month: “Given the present economic environment and anticipated future demand, the current management plan, subject to consultation, will not allocate further product to the Bochum site after the run-out of the current Zafira.”