• Germany edition
 
Opel could shut Bochum plant two years early
Photo: DPA

Opel could shut Bochum plant two years early

Published: 22 Jan 2013 15:09 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Jan 2013 15:09 GMT+01:00

Opel announced in December that it will halt auto production at Bochum plant in 2016, but pledged to keep it running as a parts distribution centre. About 3,200 people currently work there.

Nevertheless, management and unions must "come to an agreement in February," or the plant could be shut down at the end of 2014, GM vice chairman and Opel supervisory board chief Stephen Girsky warned in a letter to Opel's workforce.

"If no agreement is reached in our negotiations, we'll keep to our existing site agreement, which expires at the end of 2014," Girsky wrote.

"That means Zafira production in Bochum would end and all production activities in Bochum be completely shutdown by January 1, 2015."

The carmaker, which has been making losses for years, is hoping to launch a number of new models over the coming years, and also cut costs in order to steer back to profit.

Girsky said the workforce must be prepared to make sacrifices. "All employees must make their contribution," he said. Opel could not, for example, afford any wage increases as long as it was in the red, Girsky argued.

But GM would be "ready to support Opel financially, as soon as it is in a position in Germany to be competitive and profitable once again."

The situation for the entire European car market "remains catastrophic. That is a difficult basis for the upcoming talks," Girsky said.

The market would likely shrink again this year. "It's therefore not only unrealistic, but illusory to believe that the market will recover any time soon and help us out of the current situation," he argued.

"We have no time to lose and must lay the foundations for a profitable future," Girsky insisted.

GM estimates it stands to lose more than €1.2 billion on its European operations this year and wants to steer Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall back to profit by 2015.

Opel and Vauxhall are heavily dependent on the European market where industry-wide sales fell by 15 percent in the first nine months of 2012, according to data published by the European automobile makers' association.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany has just ten Ebola beds
Photo: DPA

Germany has just ten Ebola beds

Doctors at high-level infectious disease clinics say that caring for patients with the Ebola virus is much more intensive than they first thought, meaning they can handle fewer cases at once. READ  

Refugee Crisis
Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees
A refugee protests on the roof of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees

Berlin has turned to huge tents and shipping containers to shelter growing numbers of refugees. With winter approaching, city politicians have called on the federal government for help. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11

UPDATE: One person has died and at least 11 others are injured after a huge explosion in western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes
Photo: DPA

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders. READ  

Woman sues for accidental pot raid
Photo: DPA

Woman sues for accidental pot raid

A Bavarian woman is suing police for unlawful search after a reported break-in at her home led authorities to discover 158 cannabis plants in her basement. READ  

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants
Photo: DPA

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants

Germany gave out fewer residency permits last year per head to non-EU citizens than any other major European economy. READ  

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine
Hamburg's UKE has helped lead the fight against Ebola. Photo: DPA

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves for the first phase of the human trial for an Ebola vaccine at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), it was announced on Wednesday evening. READ  

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend
Jacob Lew and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, in a meeting on Wednesday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, called on Germany to boost public spending to stimulate stuttering eurozone growth, the Treasury said. READ  

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window
Schönhauser Allee in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window

A father and his young son are in serious condition after police and firefighters were called to their home in northeast Berlin early on Wednesday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,523
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd