Stracke will take over on April 1 for current Opel executive Nick Reilly, who will continue in the position of European President for its US parent company General Motors, daily Rheinische Post reported.
But because the 55-year-old automobile engineer worked as the plant’s production director from 1995 to 1999, his first task of making the layoffs will be particularly uncomfortable, the paper said.
General Motors has demanded the job cuts, head of the Bochum workers’ council Rainer Einenkel confirmed.
The move is part of restructuring concept meant to encourage a total of 1,800 workers at the plant to leave voluntarily by year’s end.
Opel has offered replacement positions at their Rüsselsheim plant and other settlements, but thus far only 600 employees have accepted a deal, the paper said.
Due to GM’s European losses of some €1.3 billion last year, the recent order from Detroit is clear – the jobs must be cut even if it means terminating employees.
“They seriously demanded that I agree to the layoffs at the start,” Einenkel told the paper. “And they said that afterwards we could negotiate over whether it really had to be so many.”
But Einenkel refused and the matter has gone to an arbitration committee, a move also confirmed by an Opel spokesperson.
Despite the difficult situation the workers hope their new leader will ease the blow.
“He knows the Bochum plant and how good our work is,” Einenkel said.