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Opel job cuts may begin Monday

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Opel job cuts may begin Monday
Photo: DPA
12:44 CEST+02:00
Media reports over the weekend suggest that Magna, the new owner of car maker Opel, could begin mass layoffs as early as Monday, starting with over 1,800 jobs at Opel headquarters in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt.

Magna along with its partner, the Russian Sberbank, secured control of Opel earlier this month after protracted negotiations with General Motors and the German government, which is financing the deal.

The Canadian auto parts maker plans to eliminate over 10,500 jobs across Europe and 4,500 positions within Germany. The hardest hit German factory will likely be the plant in Bochum, which will see over 2,000 jobs cut under Magna's plan.

Germany's strong support for the Magna deal - the government would not fund a deal with another buyer - has angered other European governments.

Factories in Spain and Britain will also lose thousands of positions, while Magna has said a factory in Antwerp, Belgium will be closed.

Governments from all three countries have protested Germany's financing of the Magna takeover to the European Commission, which is investigating whether the terms of the deal violate European subsidy rules.

With national elections one week away on September 27, the layoffs could also throw German politics into chaos.

Though the job cuts in Germany were expected, the timing could be inopportune for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her rival Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Both had lobbied hard for the Magna deal as the best chance for holding onto to as many German-based jobs as possible.

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