Opel says redundancy discussions between its employee representatives and an arbitration committee will begin within around six weeks.

The timetable detail follows a mass meeting this week of 2,000 employees at the Bochum plant, where Opel has not ruled out the possibility of some forced redundancies to quicken the pace of a headcount reduction of 1,200.

Despite the massive turnout, Opel was keen to play down the significance of such large numbers to discuss the redundancy programme.

"There were around 2,000 employees who attended that meeting," an Opel spokesman in Germany told just-auto.

"We have this kind of meeting four times a year - they would have discussed the [redundancy] situation, but there is no escalation, no dramatic situation."

An eventual reduction in staff will see some 1,800 people leave out of Bochum's 4,500 employees, who will concentrate on exclusively making the new generation Zafira from this autumn.

Earlier this week, Opel confirmed to just-auto it needed to accelerate job reductions as part of its European restructuring plan that has already seen the automaker close its Antwerp site in Belgium at the end of last year.

The Bochum Works Council was not immediately available for comment.