General Motors and German labor union IG Metall have given themselves just over four months to restructure their labor agreement with loss-making Opel, with an objective to have a definitive plan by November.
“The aim of the negotiations is to create a roadmap for Opel through 2016 and even beyond. I can tell you that labor is absolutely determined to reach a deal,” Oliver Burkhard, a senior IG Metall official, told Reuters in an interview.
Specifically, Burkhard is in charge of the region that contains Opel’s Bochum plant. He said that labor would encourage a solution that would avert closing the facility at the end of 2016. The plant currently produces the Zafira MPV, the development and manufacturing of the next-generation being headed up by PSA. Coincidentally, other reports state that GM, IG Metall, and Opel labor unions are said to be discussing a plan that would cease production at Bochum by 2016 in exchange for assuring German jobs through 2016.
Part of GM’s new strategy in Europe is to trim costs and overcapacity in the region, where new car sales have dropped for the firth straight year partly due to the progressing debt crisis. For its part, General Motors lost $256 million in the first quarter of 2012 in Europe, $747 million last year, and has reported $16.4 billion in losses since 1999.