Opel's Group Works Council and IG Metall union are branding reports General Motors is mulling closing its Bochum site in Germany in 2015 as "unacceptable."

A spokesperson for the Works Council in Germany told just-auto General Motors vice-chairman, Steve Girsky, had sent a letter to Opel employees this morning (22 January) "demanding" further savings and flexibility.

Opel had previously indicated production at Bochum would stop in 2016, but according to the two labour bodies, this could be advanced to the first day of 2015.

"They [Opel] are putting into question wage increases as long as Opel is having losses," a translation of a joint statement from the Group Works Council and the IG Metall union, given to just-auto from Germany said. "All production in Bochum should [could] be stopped on 1 January, 2015 after the current future agreement runs out.

"IG Metall and the Group Works Council declare we want an agreement, but not at any price. We don't accept lower wages than the tariff agreements for the electrical and metalworking industries.

"It is unacceptable to threaten production will be stopped in 2015 - Bochum must stay as a production site. We want negotiation results backed up by concretely defined milestones. There won't be any concrete concessions by employees in exchange for un-concrete promises from management."

A working group known as Bochum Perspective 2022, recently established by Opel, is looking at site development opportunities "to secure existing jobs and create new ones in the city of Bochum and the entire Ruhr region."

Opel will support the project with finance and staff, but IG Metall and the General Works Council caution while they support the initiative, it should not be at the expense of site production.

"We are supporting the Bochum 22 initiative - it is good to analyse all options to build up employment in Bochum, but this is not an alternative to production but an addition," said the labour bodies jointly.

Neither GM Europe nor GM in the US was immediately available to comment.

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