Opel has denied a report alleging that it is planning to cut approximately one third of its work force in Germany. A report by the Bild newspaper published Saturday cited a source who had requested to remain anonymous stating that GM has given Opel an explicit goal to cut 30 percent of its jobs and that Opel has agreed to a phased strategy with GM, the first step of which is to cut working hours of several thousand workers announced last week.
GM Vice Chairman and Opel supervisory board chairman Steve Girsky denied Bild’s assertion that GM has a “secret strategy” to cut many Opel jobs.
“Of course, we must save money … to become leaner and end losses, but we are not doing that through a secret strategy,” said Girsky. He continued by saying that Opel is working with the IG Metall union and employee representatives to find a solution.
Opel said in a statement that “The claim that Opel wants to cut one in every three jobs in Germany is untrue. It is irresponsible to our customers, our dealers and our approximately 40,000 employees.”
In the same statement, the top union official at Opel, Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug, said Bild’s report was nonsense. Schaefer-Klug said that GM and employees are actively discussing partial retirement options along with in-sourcing to cut costs, adding that the parties are looking to extend a contact that excludes compulsory layoffs until the end of 2014.
General Motors lost $747 million in Europe in 2011; the automaker hasn’t turned a profit in the region for nearly a decade. For 2012, Opel’s financial troubles are widely expected to worsen due to the region’s slumping economic climate that is negatively impacting car sales.