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Employees unsettled by Opel sell-off rumours

The Local · 11 Jun 2011, 15:03

Published: 11 Jun 2011 15:03 GMT+02:00

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Workers council chairman Rainer Einenkel said Saturday that the US automaker should “deny it has any plans to sell, with no ifs or buts,” adding “soft statements help neither the employees nor the reputation of our product.”

His demand follows several days of rumours and media reports that the Detroit auto giant is contemplating selling off Opel.

German automotive magazine Auto Bild, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that General Motors executives were frustrated that Opel is still making a loss and were looking at the possibility of selling it. Der Spiegel reported that Volkswagen and a Chinese carmaker were being considered as possible buyers.

Opel has major plants in Rüsselsheim, near Frankfurt, as well as in Bochum, Eisenach and Kaiserslautern. As recently as May, the company and workers representatives in Bochum had agreed on a plan to reduce the payroll by 1,800 jobs, as part of GM’s overall plans to cut employment at its European units by some 8,000.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced her concern about the rumour and asked GM to clarify its plans for its German-headquartered European unit. According to her spokesman Steffen Seibert, the reports were “upsetting” for Opel’s hard-working employees. “They deserve that their performance be appreciated and that they be given some security about the future,” he said Friday.

In 2009 GM had put Opel up for sale but withdrew from a deal with Canadian-Austrian auto parts maker Magna at the last minute.

On Saturday Die Weltnewspaper cited unnamed company sources as saying China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC), among the bidders in 2009, had approached GM's management with an offer. Advisers close to BAIC, however, told Reuters news agency that no formal offer had been made.

Story continues below…

BAIC President Wang Dazong, an engineer who spent 20 years working at GM, has said the company is aiming to expand outside its Chinese home market.

The Local/DPA/smd

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:30 June 13, 2011 by ND1000
Opel, soon to be Made in China. Those employees will soon get their wish to not be owned by Americans anymore.
14:33 June 14, 2011 by maxbrando
German auto workers believe in stability. So much so that they don't want anytning to change - ever. So now, they live in the past. They want to keep producing money-losing cars, and to hell with reality! What most really want is that retirement check.
16:19 June 14, 2011 by Englishted
@ND1000 am I wrong or are you a American?

just because the chinese now own most things in America doesn't make it right.

No wonder unemployment is so high when people think like you.

@maxbrando, yes they believe in stability .

But it is not in their power to change models that is a management decision but it is easier to blame the workers .When was the last strike? .

German auto workers also produce BMW's, Volkswagons, Porsche,Fords are these all wrong too ?.

Thats reality "check".
20:14 June 14, 2011 by chrishale53
Good news if the Chinese buy Opel...
00:45 June 16, 2011 by whpmgr
Englishted: I think the problem with the lower people (Union workers) is they dont drive Opels, they park their non opel cars in the lot, they want 35 hour work weeks but the full 40 hour week pay, AND they still want over time. The union has the company by the "Pants" and as such, they slowly choked out any productivity. I know personnally as my wife worked there and my father in law retired from there. I saw them lose 120,000 parts (just in time is good when it works and you find the parts). The parts were logged in, and not found so they had to fly the spares in on a few helicopter rides to meet production schedules. This was about 13 years ago.

THe fact is that American or Israeli, if the opinion goes against your opinion, anyone is daft. Opel is a dinosaur. They need to improve or die off, and I can't see how they can improve at the current cost margins.

Yes Germans do build Porsche (mostly), and other cars. They have pride in their work, drive the cars, and they put forth a better product. IF the management is bad at making new models, they can at least show that the major cost problem is still over priced, under quality Labor.
19:48 June 16, 2011 by Englishted
@whpmgr "Yes Germans do build Porsche (mostly), and other cars. They have pride in their work, drive the cars, and they put forth a better product. "

Living in Germany as I do ,I have a question for you :

How much do the workers a Porsche earn? It must be very high to be able to buy one, and what percentage of the total cost of a German car in labour ?.

Please give me a answer as I would like to know.
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