Workers at GM's Rüsselsheim plant and technical development centre have raised concerns that they have had to work a million hours in overtime this year. The company has responded saying it is considering increasing the number of employees.

Rüsselsheim works director Holger Kimmes said that solutions are needed, particularly in development departments, where such a high level of overtime has never been needed before. He said that demands on workers are high and that the company will sit down with workers' representatives to find a solution.

For Hans Demant, GM Europe vice president engineering, the full use of capacity at the development centre is a sign of how important the location is. "With two global development projects, Rüsselsheim plays a central role in the GM group," he said. The next generation Astra and the Insignia (replacing the Vectra) are currently being developed at Rüsselsheim.

In a press statement, Demand and Kimmes thanked workers' representatives for their flexibility to date. "We will deal with the overtime situation and consider creating new jobs," said Kimmes.

According to Automobilwoche, however, a spokesman blamed the excessive overtime hours this year on preparations for the Insignia which goes into production next year and, for this reason, there would be no need to increase employment levels next year.