GERMANY: GM Europe job cut negotiations still without agreement

By just-auto.com editorial team | 7 December 2004

GM managers and labour officials net on Monday to finalise an agreement on cost cuts at the carmaker's loss-making European business in time for approval at a GM board meeting on Tuesday. However, final agreement has still not been struck according to reports.

Reuters said that despite worker representatives' comments last week that an agreement in principle was ready, negotiators were still working on a package of voluntary redundancies, early retirement and shifts of staff into state-subsidised "transfer companies" to avoid forced lay-offs.
Klaus Franz, head of the works council at Opel told Reuters: "The fact is that we have not agreed on the substance of severance packages and transfer companies."
"The next hurdle is whether Detroit will decide about the package," he added, toning down upbeat comments from last week. "One of the open questions is how much money this will cost."

The Reuters report added that one person familiar with the talks said GM Europe (GME) Chairman Fritz Henderson and GME President Carl-Peter Forster had not committed themselves yet to taking the package to GM headquarters in Detroit for its financial blessing.

"The chances are very high that the package will go to Detroit to be approved but we are not there yet," he said, adding that the cost of the package was a potential stumbling block.